For a long time I have been enamored with the type of fabulous creations that are found in toy catalogs like Magic Cabin. When they appear in my mailbox I hide them from my children until I’ve had a chance to drool over the gorgeous spreads depicted on the glossy pages. Oh, the lovely absence of plastic! The loose concepts leaving lots of room for childish ideas! The enticing colors and knobby shapes just right for little hands!
Alas, my household budget doesn’t allow for such luxurious expenditures. So I pass the tempting book with its elusive playthings to the three pairs of little hands that flap about my house. They are sure to drive the poor periodical to a quick end with sloppy circles of all the things they like, countless sticky fingerprints, tears wrought from frequent bouts of tug-a-war. They will love it to death before I ever get the chance to change my mind and snatch back the order form.
I almost give in to the whim of a foolhardy shopping spree when I glimpse the fairy house sets staring out at me from the corner of the page my youngest is busy chewing up.
Who cares if it melts my credit card! Look at that tree fort kit, it’s calling me ... Oops, can’t see it anymore for the marker scribbles.
My children save me once again. [whew]
So instead, today we’ll reach for what we can have. What we do have. What we can do. We take a quick inventory and gather the supplies.
Some wrought iron serving racks I had in the storage closet.
Fridge clips and clothes pins.
Ribbons, silk rose petals, and a stack of colorful scraps of fabric leftover from other crafting projects.
A few buttons, beads, charms and such “treasures.” My scrapbooking supply shelves can bear the loss.
Flower iron-ons my daughter begged for the last time I let her come with me to the sewing isle.
A handful of acorns.
Pipe-cleaners, a favorite of my three turkeys.
Sheets of cardstock, brown paper, and some stickers depicting cute kiddos. These were from a collection called The Dimple Street Gang by Tie Me To The Moon.
A few pine cones and snips of greenery.
Some small gauge wire, a green blanket and a pair of scissors.
Time to plop the baby into his highchair with a snack a few interesting bits of this and that and some containers to put them into, making him feel like he is part of the action. Thank you, Tupperware.
Then let the fun began. And the story weaving. All the time we are working on our project I tell my two older children a story about the world we are building.
When you are four and six everything is full of magic. It doesn’t take much to paint a fairytale before their eyes. It’s easy business to capture their agile minds with wondrous words. The only roadblock is the challenge of racking my frazzled brain for a story that will please both the roguish nature of my hooligan son and the princess that flutters and dances within my daughter’s willowy frame.
Today it comes down to Pan.
Peter Pan, that is. Some say James M. Barrie wasn’t quite right in the head, but you have to give him credit for being a genius storyteller. Neverland is the perfect enchantment for boys and girls alike. Mermaids, pirates, fairies, Indians, runaways -- it’s all there. My two love it. It’s been a while since we listened to audio book I am free to take as much artist’s license as my motherhood-warped memory requires.
Laying the green blanket out for the grassy ground...
Once upon a time there was a boy named Peter Pan. He was a rascal.
Peter loved living in Neverland because as long as he stayed there he would never grow into a man. He would never face the work and worries that come with growing-up. Neverland was beautiful and covered with every kind of landscape. Mountains, rivers, beaches and plenty of forest.
Adding the leaf bunches to the top of the wrought iron stand.
Wrapping the “trunks” with brown paper and entwining them with wire “vines.”
Attaching cloth “floors” with clips and clothespins.
Meeting the characters -- stickers on cardstock and we cut-out with rose petal wings added to the fairies.
Making comfy hammocks and sumptuous fairy-nest beds.
Hanging ribbons and pipe cleaners for ladders and fairy finery.
Hooking up a swinging ribbon bridge linking the fairy’s home and the Lost Boy’s realm -- spanning the blue silk swirls of a pond, pine[cone] trees and a prickly berry patch.
My favorite parts?
Overhearing my children adding their own touches of imagination to the basic storyline I had told them -- just as they had added their own trinkets and personal flourishes to the wrought iron framework of the tiny new world I had laid out for them.
The moral of the story?
And it doesn’t have to cost a dime.
My checkbook lives to tell another tale.
Avid reader, homeschooler, mother of three, coffee drinker, friend hugger, dog-petter.
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