A few years ago, when my daughter was in kindergarten, she let me know that she told her teacher about my vegetable garden. At the time I was huge into garden blogging and I got really excited and asked her what she said. I was expecting to hear something like Daddy grows a lot of tomatoes or we have a big garden or something like that. But what that 6 year old girl told me was actually heartbreaking. “My Dad doesn’t play with me because he’s always in his garden.”. Ouch!
Since then, I always try to involve the kids in some of my hobbies or projects. I even learned to crochet so that I could teach my daughter how to do it. And my son and I built a 1st place winning Pinewood derby car for Cub Scouts. Now that they’re older, they want to hang out with their friends more than they want to do stuff with Dad. But I still ask them if they want to help me work on my projects.
The last project that I got some help with was a fairy door. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mini door that you place on a tree or a wall outside that’s supposed to be for the fairies in your yard to use. Even if you think fairies are silly child stuff, fairy doors or fairy gardens make for really cool yard decorations. And they’re getting more popular too. I came across this book while browsing around the book store recently, Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden by Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner and there were some awesome projects in there. I wanted more of woodworking, DIY style door though and came up with my own plans.
Our door is built with wood from an apple tree that fell over during Hurricane Irene. At the time, I used the chain saw to make a bunch of logs out of the tree and much to my wife’s dismay, they’ve been sittting a corner of the yard in a big wood pile. So I grabbed a few of the smaller log slices, sanded them down and we got started.
We cut a door shape out of three pieces of wood and glued them together. This would give it a more handmade woodworking feel. Almost like a tiny woodworker with small tools made the door. A single flat slab of wood would have been boring. Then we made a door knob and some hinges and painted them. My daughter is now a pro with the Gorilla Glue and clamps. Working with such small pieces of wood was tricky until I stopped trying to use my regular tools and broke out the Dremel Rotary Tool . Fairies probably use Dremels too, I think it’s the best tool for job.
And if you’re like me and wander around Lowes and Home Depot during your lunch break, you start to find all kinds of hidden treasures waiting to be taken home. I discovered these two little wooden flower pots in a drawer in the hardware aisle at Lowes and knew they’d look great outside of our Fairy Door. We picked brown spray paint because we had it on hand and liked the fact that it blends with the natural environment.
Perhaps in the future, we’ll add a round window or upgrade the porch area. A tiny little house number would be cool too.
I think the project came out pretty good and it was a great way to spend an afternoon with my daughter. And the next time she had some friends over, I overheard her saying, “Me and my dad made this Fairy Door.” She seemed proud and her friends seemed impressed, so I consider this a win for Dad.