Fairy Garden Plant Abuse

The instructions and care tag for this plant should be ……”provide unrelenting abuse”.

air-plant-abusedI am ashamed to admit that I am not the best plant nurturer around, but this time I’ve out done myself. While shopping for a few plants to use in display gardens for a show I impulsively grabbed a few interesting things called air plants. I believe they were $1.50 each . I went home armed with all the information I had about these plants which was..they were called air plants at the nursery and they had been displayed laying about on a screen.

I deduced that soil was undesirable. I loosely wrapped a bit of thin wire around them and ‘picked’ them into a sandy area of an arid fairy garden display for the show. And away we went out into the snow storm to the show.

After the show I  didn’t see the air plants in the bottom of the box I was unpacking and they were stowed into the attic in the empty box for about 2 weeks . When I next discovered them I brought them downstairs and just popped them into a small empty clay pot so they would stand up. Next thing I knew the cat had them! I rescued one immediately but the cat was on to me and dashed up the stairs into an inaccessible crawl space under the eaves.  For several days I could sometimes hear the cat playing with plant. This involved biting it, tossing it in the air, batting it around up and down the stairs etc. All the usual cat nonsense.

Finally, I did get my hands on the poor abused plant, popped it back in the clay pot and down graded the abuse to simply ignoring it completely. I couldn’t really tell if it was alive or not. It looked about the same as when I had last seen it…I’m not even sure how long ago that was, but today I noticed that it is growing and starting to flower!

I fully intend to rectify my complete ignorance about this plant. What do you know about these marvels?

As always keep having a  fairy good time …and hello, welcome and thank you to all my new followers. Feel free to shoot me a line. Always happy to hear what others are doing in the fairy garden and miniature garden DIY world.

Where did all this fairy garden nonsense come from anyway?

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I was poking around in Google Trends the other day doing some keyword trend research and discovered a few interesting tid bits of information. I was looking at the historical popularity  or the two search terms’ fairy garden’ and ‘miniature garden’ and here’s what I found.

The data starts in 2004 and of the 6 most interested nations in the term fairy garden only the United States shows enough interest to have data ranging back to 2004. however the US comes in at only fourth in over all interest.The other five in order of most interest shown in fairy garden and miniature garden and when it started to show is shown below. I all cases fairy garden was a more popular term than miniature garden.

‘Fairy Garden’                                               ‘Miniature Garden’

Australia 2007                                                 2011

South Africa 2007                                            not enough interest for data                                           

UK  2006                                                         2007

(US 2004 and beyond)                                    2004

Malaysia 2012                                                 not enough interest for data

Canada 2012                                                  2012

So now we know ..all this fairy garden nonsense came from the good ol’ US of A.

What does this data mean? I’m not sure. But I  was surprised that fairy gardening seems to be an enduring American interest rather than a trend or fad.  I had suspected that I would find that the UK showed a more historical interest. I also hope it means that Canada is just getting started and that this interest will endure:) That would be good news for fairygarden.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Garden Shabby Chandalier

Fish Hook Chandelier

Fish Hook Chandelier

Inspired by an image on Pinterest of a miniature chandelier made out of a fish hook I gathered up some supplies and decided to give it a go.

First off – who knew fish hooks came in such an array of sizes. I decided to buy several sizes but settled on one about 1 1/2″ high for my experiment.

Step one -squeeze those nasty little barbs on the fish hooks until they are good and flat ( pliers) and nip the pointy ends from the hooks with a a little wire cutter.

gathered-supplies -fish-hook-chandalier  I picked up some clear seed beads and some larger clear beads as well as some even larger colorful beads. For the larger beads I looked for ones with a bead cap that could be used as a candle drip catcher.  reconfigure -beads      Step Two – I pre-assembled a few items. The largest bead was dismantled, reassembled and embellished with a small clear teardrop bead to form the part that would attach to the top of each hook and eventually hold the candle.  The hole in the tear drop bead fit over the hook a little making that part easy to glue. get-some-peieces-ready

A few strands of beading wire with curled ends were used to make the three pieces that would attach to the middle of the fish hook where beads would later hang. More beading wire pieces with a tear drop and several seed beads were made ready for hanging as well.

Step 3 – Assemble. Easier said than done 🙂 I painted the fish hook first. Much of the paint rubbed off during the assembly – and I’m going with the “I meant to do that story” and calling it shabby chic!

I started in the middle with the three pieces of twisted wire with curls at the ends, poisitioning them evenly around the middle post as best I could. Then I twisted a bit of wire around the bottom and top of the group.  I pulled and poked and eventually shaped the twisted wire into a shape I found pleasing and that would allow me to hang beads out away from the post, and then tightened the wire I had placed at the  top and bottom.

making-the-candlesAfter the bead chains were hung and the larger beads glued to the hooks it was time to make the candles.

Premo translucent clay was used  for making the candles. I just rolled out a thin snake, cut a few little pieces, poked a tiny bit of wire in the end and popped them in the toaster oven. Glue.

Fussy but fun. Keep crafting and, as always, have a fairy good time. Marthe

Itsy Bitsy Fairy Garden Stuff

Pill Bottle Fairy House

Pill Bottle Fairy House

I’m just nuts about seriously tiny fairy garden stuff. Micro things.

One day I happened upon an open tub of drywall compound (not at all unusual in our house) on my way to toss out an empty prescription bottle. The urge hit, and I quickly had the top half inch and the cap sawed off the bottle and dunked into the muck.

There’s always some buckets of pebbles and stone on hand where ever I am, so I poked a few into the muck – chopped up a bit of bark –  pinched a tad of artificial moss from my fairy garden supplies – a bit of glue -a drop of  paint – voila! A miniature fairy house.

It’s not fancy, and it’s not going to sell on Etsy …or anywhere else for that matter. But the few minutes taken out of a busy day to follow my whim was sheer delight.

Now, the teensy weensy miniature garden pebble chairs and table? That’s another fairy garden story. Now go make a 15 minute fairy garden story of your own!

As always, have a fairy good time! Marthe

FB Group Rescues the Stone Fairy House

In December 2013, along with picture below, I wrote a post on building a stone fairy house for your fairy garden. The instructions included using a technique for the main part of the house that I described in another post. Well , the main part of the house has worked out fabulous. Not so the roof!

I admit I am a little clumsy and I dropped it on a cement patio stone – the first time – and it hit the edge of a counter the second time. Still, I like to be able to put my fairy houses outdoors. I worried that the roof being on a different kind of plastic base than the bottom, was more brittle and determined that I would find a fix.

DIY Stone Fairy

DIY Stone Fairy House

After trying some silicone suggested in an online article and not being happy with the mess and difficulty of working with it, I decided to turn to the experts. People who do these kinds of crafts all the time. Namely, the members of a great group on Facebook called Miniature and Fairy Garden Chat. I posted my pic, expressed my frustrations and not very long afterwards I had a wealth of great tips, suggestions and information.

Nanci Z-S thought I was on the right track with the silicone and offered a great tip to make it easier to work with. She says she squeezes her silicone into a dish of water with plenty of dish soap and pulls out what she needs with soapy hands. The silicone will not stick to your hands but will stick to everything else. I’ll bet this extends the working time too.

Several people suggested using a sealant of some sort and Melinda T said she uses mortar after gluing the stone down. She added  that using cheese cloth to wipe the excess mortar away does a good job of cleaning all the residue from the stone. Gluing something to the plastic before the stone was also suggested, such as plastic mesh…I tried burlap and it does seem to be helping make the stone adhere easier.

The first suggestion made was jewelery glue, and the discussion came full circle back to this when  Debbie G mentioned E6000 and Jill A-H and Colleen F started to sing the praises of this apparently very useful adhesiveE6000-adhesive- product.

The product description found on Home Depot says  “Amazing E6000 Craft is a unique adhesive formulated to meet high performance industrial requirements, thus making it an excellent crafting tool. Amazing E6000 has exceptional adhesion to wood, metal, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, and concrete. It also adheres strongly to leather, rubber, vinyl and many plastics. Amazing E6000 dries clear and once cured, it’s waterproof, washer/dryer safe, can be painted and is safe for photographs.”

Sounds like ‘amazing’ stuff. What do you use for difficult fastening jobs?

Keep crafting, and, as always…have a fairy good time.

Marthe

 

 

 

 

Fairy Garden Supplies – A Unique Source

I wonder if many fairy gardeners also have fish? If you don’t keep fish, then you probably haven’t discovered that the aquarium store is a surprisingly great place to get DIY fairy garden supplies!

mushroom-log-aquarium-decoration

Mushroom Log Aquarium Decoration

The aquarium decoration isle will yield some interesting results.  This mushroom log is 8″ x 4″x 7″ and sells (in Canada) for $15. It just needs a little DIY fairy door to make it a wonderful fairy house for your miniature garden. Bonus – aquarium decor is non-toxic.

aquasand

‘Aqua Sand’ Aquarium Substrate

Now for landscaping your fairy abode. The substrate section alone can fascinate me for an hour. The unbelievable variety of stone, gravel, and course sands- aka miniature landscaping aggregates- comes in quantities that are ideal for various sized fairy gardening projects. Many of the substrates are coated with 100% environmentally friendly resin, – no dust. The coating also keeps them looking pretty and prevents any undesirable elements leaching into your garden when you water. A 5lb bag runs around $7. Next, take a look over in the reptile section.

small reptile feeder

Small Reptile Feeder

Reptile feeders are designed to blend in with a rock, stone and wood environment and need to have uneven surfaces for reptiles to crawl on. This makes them ideal for use as a miniature fairy garden ponds! Add a little acrylic water and decorate with  some miniature lily pads, a frog or some fish. This feeder measures 4.5″ x 4″ x 1″ and retails for just  $4.

While you’re in the reptile department also take a look at some of the bedding. You can find some nice sized bags of bark chips for your garden or DIY fairy house project. They also have some reptile carpets that make nice lawns that are meant to get wet.

As always- have a fairy good time…this time at the aquarium store! Let me know how you make out…

 

 

Two Brown Thumbs?

Do you want a fairy garden but have two brown thumbs? It can be done. I have two suggestions; artificial plants and flowers,  really easy care inexpensive plants.fairy-garden-french-chateau-field-stoen-tiles-artificial-palts-mostly

This fairy garden uses mostly artificial plants and flowers. The sunflowers in the foreground are commercially made miniature sunflowers. I’ve augmented them a little buy cutting little pieces from an artificial fern and tucking these in around the bottom. I wrapped a bit of wire around the bits and pieces to make them into little picks to make it easier to insert them into the soil. I used these along the edge of the stone walkway for a hedge affect as well.

The tree was also made from an artificial fern (from the dollar store) I butchered and reassembled it on some twigs from the yard to give it a nice tree appearance. The other yellow flowers and the trellis with purple flowers near the fairy house door are made of polymer clay and are very easy to do.

I’ve tucked a bit of artificial moss under the yellow clay flowers, under the windows on the house and under the tree.

Finally, for real plants, small succulents from your local nursery are usually very inexpensive, have a nice scale for a fairy garden and are almost impossible to …shhhh..you know. Moss is also a great idea for an easy care fairy garden, particularly in a terrarium where it should not even require watering… but more on that in my next post

So, brown thumbs or not..go make a fairy garden already. As always…have a fairy good time! Marthe