Crafty (& Handy) Parenting Projects

For the Fairies. And Zombies.

Eleanor is really into fairies right now. They visit her at night and give her sweet dreams, and they help her grow. All kinds of things. We haven’t seen any in person, but that’s because they’re very shy, and also because they sleep during the day and only come out at night. Brandon bought a toy for E when she got her white belt in karate a few weeks ago, and he left it on top of her dresser as a surprise. Of course, she saw it when she woke up and immediately assumed it was a gift from the fairies, so they got all the credit.

We think they’ve been hanging out in the dollhouse, but we’ve talked about creating a fairy garden for them to live in outside, too. My friend recommended Wannemaker’s for supplies, so we went out there on Sunday.

Wannemaker's Fairy Garden Supplies

We already had plenty of planters to choose from and it’s too cold for outdoor plants yet, so we concentrated on finding the perfect decorations. If the design were up to me, it would be like an open terrarium with a cute house tucked away in one corner. Maybe a little patio too, complete with charming vintage-style furniture. The design was rightfully up to E though, so we have a giant! house, a couple of fairy figures, a bridge and blue glass pebbles (water), plus a beach chair and umbrella. August wasn’t that into it, but he did choose both of the fairies for Eleanor.

Starting on the Fairy Gardens
Adding Fairy Garden Decorations
Eleanor's Fairy Garden

That house took up so much room that we ended up creating two fairy gardens. One is for their home, and the other is a beachy scene in which I planted a pothos that we already had on hand (I’ll either harden it to the outdoors or swap it out for something else in a few weeks). I want variation in texture, with larger plants juxtaposed against tiny ones, and something with small flowers. The kids want dirt patches for their zombie toys, because the beachy scene is now a zombie garden. So, maybe we won’t be adding more plants? They really like everything as it is now, and this is for them after all.

Zombie/Fairy Garden
Zombie Yeti in the Fairy Garden

Eleanor was worried that the fairies might find their new home only to be frightened off by the zombie toys. But we discussed it and they’ll be fine, because zombies are not real. (Fairies are.)

Zombie/Fairy Garden

She goes to check on her fairy gardens each morning, first thing when she wakes up. She still hasn’t seen any, but she told me that she has been singing songs to the fairies in hopes of gaining their trust. Much like the rabbits in our yard that bound away immediately, but that she has leaves carrots for. So hopeful, that girl is.

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  • Rebecca S.
    March 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    If you’re ever in Ann Arbor, MI, you’ll have to do a walking tour of all the fairy doors in town:

    There are a lot of “unofficial” fairy doors around town too.

    • Valentina
      March 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      This is exactly what I came here to say! They are fantastic.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      That’s amazing!

  • Tatyana
    March 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I love how kid’s minds work! She is adorable.

  • Carole
    March 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I adore this! I want one for myself. This brings Zen gardens to a whole new more amazing level.

  • Catherine
    March 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    This is so adorable! When I was little, my mom told me that lightning bugs were fairies flying with lanterns. I still see them sometimes in the summer with my boys. :)

    • Sarah
      March 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      My uncle married and English woman and when he first brought her to America she saw lightning bugs in my grandparent’s backyard (and had never seen them before) and started shouting, “There are sparks in the yard! Sparks!”

      It was so funny. So we had to explain to her what a lightning bug was and my grandma said something about bugs carrying tiny lanterns, lol. Just thought I’d share since you mentioned them :)

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
      March 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Aww. So cute. Never heard this before, but I love it, and will share with my great nephew and niece. For sure we have lightning bugs in Illinois. Last summer there were so many in our gardens.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      That’s so sweet. We may have missed the opportunity for a little magic there though, because the kids already know all about lightning bugs. :)

  • Giulia
    March 25, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    We created a fairy garden about 2 years ago with four wine crates stacked of kilter and filled with dirt, plants and fairy items. Building it vertically had us use less space in the yard and makes it the perfect height for the kids. We included a house, a pond, a shell path, a treasure box, boy and girl fairies, miniature flower pots. Once they snow disappears the kids get back into it – we refresh the annuals and the ramblers come back. I also add moss every year since it give some nice (not dirty) spaces for the fairies to play.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      We’re going to have to see what our garden is like once spring finally acts like it’s here. Yours sounds pretty wonderful.

  • Sarah
    March 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Ah! It’s so cute I almost can’t even handle it. I loved fairies when I was little. I definitely want to make one of these to bring something fun and interesting to our apartment balcony.

  • Erica
    March 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    “The Dollhouse Fairy” by Jane Ray is is a favorite in our house. I thought of it immediately when reading this. The illustrations and the story is wonderful.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation — I wasn’t familiar with that book, but it looks like something Eleanor may like.

  • Alana
    March 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    LOVE THIS! And I think it’s fabulous that the fairies and zombies live so harmoniously that they can share vacation property.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Ha! I love thinking of it that way now!

  • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    March 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Oh. Absolutely sweet. Eleanor and August look so content. The amazing minds of children. We have more than a few fairies and angels in our garden/yard. For the longest time I would buy those copper extra long markers, to put into floral or veggie beds. They are so pretty and last for many years. It looks as if your kiddos will be enjoying their latest discovery for awhile.

  • Centsational Girl
    March 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Charming! I adore when they go through these phases, I recall when my little was so into fairies they had a “fairy” club at school and you could only be in it if you BELIEVED! Priceless, these years. Very sweet post!

  • Laurie
    March 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    How funny, I just grabbed a bunch of fairy furniture for my own fairy garden too! I was going to get a bunch of those “walkables.” The wee little leafed plants that are normally ground cover but they really are scale for these little fairy gardens.

    When I was a kid, my aunt and I used to make fairy houses. Wee little houses with no roof so we could see all the rooms and we made little furniture for all the rooms. Rugs, curtains, etc. We mostly made them all out of paper and light cardboard (file folders are a good material for this). Those were a blast to make and color.

    Does Eleanor have the flower fairy books? She would love those!

    • Making it Lovely
      March 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      I used to make rooms out of shoe boxes and other paper and cardboard, but I don’t think I was big on fairies. What are the flower fairy books?

  • Maureen
    March 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    What a lovely post! Have you heard of that sweet movie FairyTale? It’s a somewhat fictionalized account of a true story in England. I can’t quite remember if it would be too “old” for someone your little lady’s age, but I ADORED it when it came out. I was 12 or 13 at the time, that age when you’re very much consumed with being “cool,” but it still managed to capture my heart.

  • Erin
    March 26, 2014 at 6:59 am

    We were very into fairies at that age as well. My daughter had one special fairy friend named PetalBottom that would visit her at night and kiss her nose leaving behind fairy dust. She also wrote my daughter little notes and left her little fairy gifts, like beads and shells. It was a very magical time that ended a little sadly for both of us when she was about 6 and her friends didn’t believe her that she had a fairy visiting her. I recommend the movies “FairyTale: A True Story” and “The Secret of Roan Inish.” Both delightful fairy stories…I might watch them first to be sure they will not upset your children, because I am cautious about that kind of thing. We also needed many, many fairy dolls which are far more accessible now than they were then…I had to make my own.

  • Ashlee
    March 26, 2014 at 7:42 am

    That’s so cool!! I was going to also comment on the movie “Fairy Tale: A True Story” from 1997 but I see some already have! There’s a public garden here in southern Maryland that holds a Fairy themed project for kids every summer. There are all sorts of homes for Fairy’s and Gnomes made by the staff and kids can walk down the paths and create their own too. I’m not a huge fairy person, but it’s fun!

  • Elena
    March 27, 2014 at 4:09 am

    So sweet! I think everybody should have a little bit fairies and magic in their life. My son, who’s soon turning 4, believes the dust floating in the sun is “chips from the stars”. No need for dusting here, then :)

  • Jo Donkin
    March 27, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Lovely :-) I volunteer with the National Trust over here in the UK and we have built a whole Fairy Trail in part of the local woodland complete with Fairy Doors under many of the trees. The kids can pick up a leaflet which gives all the biographies of the fairies and where they live. It went down a storm :-) There is also a Fairy Day where kids can make wands and other crafts.

    Have you seen the Flower Fairy books? Very old stories from the 1920’s with beautiful illustrations. Looks like they have been updated a bit :-)

    Have fun!

  • Kristen Wannemaker
    March 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    We are so glad you were able to find supplies for your fairy garden creations at Wannemaker’s. We have such a fun time picking all the special pieces with the hope that they will add a bit of charm and wonder to gardens in the Chicago area and beyond.

    We very much appreciate your business and hope you, Eleanor and August (and of course the fairies) enjoy your gardens for many months to come.

    Kristen Wannemaker

  • Liezl Veiga
    April 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Hi Nicole! If memory serves correctly, here in South Africa the Pathos plant in your zombie garden is listed as toxic to children and pets….. Xoxo