I always return from a visit at Sewing Sister’s with at least one crafty project. I was completely enthralled with the planters on my sister’s back deck set up like fairy gardens. Turns out, she has a local gardening center with an entire (small) room dedicated to fairy garden accessories. Oh, for the love of all things mini! My heart (and Miss Priss’) skipped a beat when we entered the room.
Several months ago, we started a fairy garden in a planter box on our back deck after Miss Priss’ kindergarten teacher shared the book, Fairy House Handbook, and Mr. Star Wars completed a fairy tale unit about the same time. The original plants had been growing wildly for 3 months or so, and the fairy garden was ready for a face lift.
According to Miss Priss’ kindergarten teacher, fairies like hidden or out of the way locations. Look for a spot that is quiet and away from big people feet.
Nooks and crannies of tree stumps are great. Flower pots or deep flower pot saucers work well tucked in a corner of your yard.
We used one of the empty plant boxes that surround our back deck. One end of the box has a large jasmine vine growing up the corner post, so it provided a nice covered area.
Ask your gardening center for succulents. Here is a list of a few we have growing.
Certain kinds of moss or plants that are good ground cover for paths and borders work well. We just added the two below and are waiting for them to fill in a little.
Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis)
Irish Moss (Sagina subulata)
I think herbs like tarragon or thyme would be the right size and would have that wild look in a short amount of time.
If you can have something tall like our jasmine vine mixed with the shorter items, it gives the fairy garden a little variety.
The fairy garden looks much better after several months of growth. Now that our succulent plants have filled out, the garden looks much more secretive and cozy. The pictures above show just planted this past March (far left), 2 months later (middle), and this past week (far right).
Fairies prefer naturally found materials, but we had to sneak some very tiny man-made items in our garden. Fairies also like colorful and shiny items like the sea glass.
We made a table and stool from bottle corks with sand dollars hot glued to the top. I purchased mini sand dollars, and I had regular sized sand dollars (for the table top) from a recent beach trip.
We used shells to line paths and placed pieces of fencing along the paths. We scattered blue sea glass to look like water in a stream.
We found a mini metal garden arch, and we tied twine to a piece of bark to make a swing.
We bought mini rabbits, a fairy, and some mini flower pots at Sewing Sister’s gardening store. My niece recommended using any tiny plastic animals we had in our toy collection if we wanted more wildlife.
The Fairy Note
It is possible that fairies will leave a very tiny note if they are happy with the home you create. Miss Priss is positive fairies are real because they have left behind a note or two. She keeps the tiny notes with a note the tooth fairy left her.
I think the fairies must use a pen with a very fine point to be able to handwrite such tiny letters.
Sugar Creek Gardens in St. Louis had the little ceramic fairy and rabbits. We also purchased the ceramic foot bridge, the sea glass, the turquoise bird feeder, and turquoise flower pot there. I picked up the ground cover plants for paths and borders at this gardening store too.
Hobby Lobby had the mini sand dollars, the garden arch, and the fence pieces. I think they also have other fairy garden items.
I found the succulent plants in my local Ace Hardware’s gardening section.
If you have a fairy garden in your backyard, please share photos on my Facebook page!
Miss Priss is attending an American Girl camp this week, which got my creative juices flowing. Since the camp is being held at a school site, I thought we could make school supplies for the dolls. Like all good mother/daughter projects, Miss Priss got bored; TheRoomMom went overboard.
I will say that the 2-ring binder requires a steady hand and a glue gun, so some of the school supply construction was beyond Miss Priss’ capabilities. She made all of the pencils and did most of the work on the pocket folders. On the horizon are some sort of camping supplies for American Girl. Project brain is already engineering fake s’mores and lanterns.
American Girl Pencil Cup with Colored Pencils
Sharpie markers, various colors
sharp cutting tool (like an X-acto knife)
plastic lid from a non-aerosol bug spray bottle (these are the same lids I used for the smoothie/milkshakes)
Cut the toothpicks in half and sand the cut end until smooth.
With a Sharpie marker, color the very tip, leave some space, then color the base of the toothpick all the way around.
The proportions are a little small for American Girl, so you may want to cut the toothpick down about 2/3 to get a longer pencil than what we have.
Use the plastic lid as a pencil cup and place all finished pencils in the lid.
American Girl Pocket Folders
cardstock, variety of colors
paper cutter or scissors and ruler (highly recommend a paper cutter)
little decorative stickers, scraps of paper
Avery labels (1/2″ x 3/4″), optional
Cut a piece of cardstock into a rectangle 5 1/2″ x 3 3/4″. Carefully fold in half and press the crease firmly.
Cut 2 pieces of cardstock into rectangles 1 1/4″ x 2 3/4″. These will be the pockets. If desired, cut a diagonal out of one side to make the inner pocket edge slope. We liked the pockets in contrasting colors, but you could make the pocket color and folder color match.
Put a thin line of glue around the bottom and outside edge of the pocket piece. Press each pocket piece onto the interior bottom of the left and right side of the folder. Let dry. Remember to leave the top and center sides unglued, so you can add papers to the pockets.
Cut scraps of paper into small pieces. I used some junk mail I had. Slide papers into the pockets.
On the exterior of the folder, decorate with mini stickers or the Avery label with a class subject written on the label.
American Girl 2-Ring Binders
cardstock, variety of colors
paper cutter or scissors (recommend a paper cutter)
ruler (recommend metal)
printer or notebook paper
silver jump rings (7 mm)
silver paint pen
silver colored poster board
hot glue gun
needle nose pliers
I originally saw the the binders in this Pin. This woman makes items for dollhouses, so the proportions were too small, but her directions are very good.
Cut a piece of cardstock into a rectangle 6 1/2″ x 3 3/4″. Put the piece of cardstock landscape direction on a table. Draw a line 3″ in from the left edge and 3″ in from the right edge. Using a ruler (I recommend a metal ruler), wrap and crease along the lines.
Cut a piece of silver posterboard 3 1/2″ by 3/8″. Round off the ends if desired. Glue the skinny piece of posterboard to the center of the cardstock between the 2 folds. Let dry.
Cut 3 pieces of printer or notebook paper 5 1/4″ x 3 1/4″. Stack the 3 sheets and fold in half.
With the pointy end of an X-acto knife, poke a hole through the folded sheets of paper near one end. Repeat at the other end. If you want a 3-ring binder, you could poke 3 holes, but this stuff is tiny, and I think 2 holes are sufficient.
With pliers, pull open 2 jump rings. Thread the jump ring through the paper. With the pliers, close the ring.
Hold the papers with the jump rings over the skinny silver posterboard piece and eyeball where the jump rings sit. Put 2 small blobs of hot glue on the silver posterboard piece and push the jump rings into the glue. You can use a toothpick to push things around if needed. Blow on the glue to cool.
It is easy to get the folded side of the papers stuck in the hot glue. I was able to peel the paper away without separating the jump rings from the glue.
Finally, put 2 silver dots on the outside spine with the silver paint pen to look like the screws on the outside of a binder.
You can add pockets to the binders following the directions for the pockets in the pocket folder above.
American Girl Clipboard
flat, wooden rectangle 3 5/8″ x 2 5/8″
mini binder clip (I think I found these in the fancy brad fastener area at Michael’s.)
Paint the wooden rectangle or decorate with stickers (or both). We left ours the natural wood color and added mini stickers from the American Girl Mini Scrap Books (see below).
Cut paper to fit the clipboard.
Clip paper to the clipboard with the mini binder clip.Metal “handles” can be up or down.
In the American Girl craft aisle at Michael’s, we found a Mini Scrap and Stuff Books set. It came with the tiny spiral notebooks and the little stickers we used on the clipboard and outside of the pocket folders.
I located the mini manila file folders in the gift label section of Hobby Lobby. We wrote on the mini Avery labels and attached the white label to the tab.
The teeny tiny envelopes with enclosed notecards were in the baby shower/party aisle at Michael’s. The package had a variety of envelope and note sizes.
It started out innocently enough. Miss Priss needed (wanted?) a shelf to hold all of the American Girl doll food we made at Christmas, so her doll restaurant would seem more authentic. I found a Recollections “Embellishment Organizer” for 50% off at Michael’s (A LOT of assembly required). It really looked like a display at a bakery. Crafty obsessive idea brain immediately took over. Hadn’t Sewing Sister made miniature cakes out of plastic bottle tops? If I just picked up a few supplies, I bet I could make cakes. Did we really have enough American Girl doll food from Round One to fill the display? Perhaps not. And so, food production began again.
Locate any and all plastic bottle caps. I used caps from anything I could get my hands on like water bottles, milk bottles, vitamin jars, juice bottles, and soda bottles. The more size variety you have, the better.
White plastic caps work the best, but I did use acrylic paint for the pale pink and pale blue cakes. It took about 3 coats of paint. If you have white bottle caps, no painting is required.
I like 3 stacked bottle caps the best. Stack them in graduating sizes. Run a bead of hot glue around the edge of a bottle cap and press it onto the center of the top of the bottle cap that goes beneath. Repeat for all layers.
Add decoration with the hot glue gun. I used satin flowers, 3-D flower stickers, thin lacy ribbon, and strings of mini pearls.
Collect twist off toothpaste caps. Thankfully, I had a stash of travel toothpaste tubes from the children’s last dental visit. My kids never put the lid back on the toothpaste tube anyway, so I did not think it mattered if I took the caps.
Drop a blob of hot glue into the bottom of a toothpaste cap. Squish one 3/4″ pom pom into the cap.
Smear a little Elmer’s glue around the top of the pom pom and sprinkle seed beads on the top.
Add a mini 5 mm pom pom if desired.
Taller, clear caps work the best for the milkshakes. The clear caps that cover the top of non-aerosol bug spray or suntan lotion are perfect. I also used small, clear bead jars.
Cut a straw to the needed length to stand in the milkshake cup. Run a small bead of hot glue on the edge of the inside of the cup and attach the straw.
Put a blob of hot glue at the bottom of the cup and press one 3/4″ pom pom to the bottom. Add a blob of hot glue to the top of the pom pom and press another pom on top. Try to avoid getting any hot glue on the edge of the cup because it looks smeary from the outside. Repeat one more time with a third pom pom.
Smear a little Elmer’s glue around the top of the pom pom and sprinkle seed beads on the top. I used rainbow nonpareils sprinkles on a few of the milkshakes too.
Add a mini 5 mm pom pom if desired.
Put a spoonful of powdered sugar in a small Ziploc bag. Add Cheerios and shake.
Put a spoonful of cinnamon in a small Ziploc bag. Add Cheerios and shake.
Remove Cheerios from the bags. You may need to brush excess cinnamon and powdered sugar from the Cheerio.
Using a round hole puncher, punch a ton of black and white circles from foam sheet.
With glue dots, build Oreo cookies. 2 black circles on the outside, one white circle in the center.
small mirrors, mini Altiod tins, flat wood shapes (to use as serving trays)
I have put the bakery display in Miss Priss’ room, although, I am not entirely comfortable with her actually playing with the doll food. It looked so perfect for a few short hours sitting on the shelf, untouched by little hands.