Thursday, August 7, 2014

Exploring A2: The Fairy Doors

On the hunt for a fairy door at the District Library.
I was immediately enchanted when I came across mentions of the fairy doors in my initial research about things to do in Ann Arbor. I made it a mission to visit all of them during our two years here, and was so excited to hunt for them with The Kid. But I wondered, is this actually just for me, or is it something he'd be into, too? I'm a fairy tale person (my Master's thesis was on Peter Pan for god's sake), but he's super-into trucks, and we haven't read him traditional fairy tales yet.

We found two of the fairy doors during our initial visit in March and one more during our fist week here, and I kept my fingers firmly crossed that The Kid would be as excited as I was.

Turns out I didn't need to worry.

The moment I mentioned the fairy doors, The Kid was on it. OK, he was confused at first (who can blame him?) but when I suggested we go to The Ark after ice cream across the street, to see where the fairies go for fun, he was just about as excited as I hoped! He bought imaginary tickets for a penny at the fairy will-call window:

and left another offering at the fairy Ark door:

We bought the fairies coffee at Sweetwater:

We've been back a couple of times since, to see if we can catch them reading their newspaper and sipping their coffee. (Fairies tend to fly away when they hear people coming.)

We visit the fairies' house every time we go to the library, which is now at least once a week for story hour:

And we happened upon the fairies' workshop at Found completely by accident while shopping there. It's my new favorite store for antiques and ephemera, so I'm sure we'll be back soon.

The Urban Fairies website hasn't been updated in a while so I'm not sure exactly how many doors are currently "active," but there are at least five out there we haven't found yet. It's a charming way to explore the city. I just have to remember to keep pennies and little knick-knacks in my purse; The Kid loves to give them offerings.

(Update: I found the fairy door at the Michigan Theater this afternoon while killing time downtown. Don't tell The Kid...)

(Update 2: The Kid found a new fairy door on Friday while we were wandering around downtown A2! This one was at Peaceable Kingdom on Main. Here he is, saying hi to the fairies:

And here he is looking through the windows to the fairy kitsch-shop on the inside of the real-life kitsch-shop:

Here's a closeup through the windows. This one was super-cute.)

(Update 3: What we didn't know about the door at the Michigan Theatre is that inside are tiny black and white movies for the fairies to watch!
We sat and watched Max Fleischer and Betty Boop shorts for a couple of minutes last week. Perfect fairy entertainment!)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Room of His Own

The Kid's garage, complete with trucks, books, and costumes.
Back when we were preparing for the move, I asked The Kid, "If you could have anything decorating your room, what would it be?" His answer was immediate:

"A garage!"

"You mean, like the parking spaces we have on the floor in the living room?"

"No, like, a shelf where I can park my trucks."

And so the wheels set to turning. I wasn't going to go out and buy a garage for The Kid's room; we had plenty of shelves that could be repurposed. But, of course, me being the Type-A wanna-be crafter I am, I didn't want to just put a shelf in The Kid's room and tell him that's where he had to put his trucks every night. It had to be something special. I set to planning.

The Kid stayed with my folks while we moved so he didn't get underfoot, and so he had a place to sleep while our furniture was in transit. We wanted to make it a priority to unpack his room first thing, so that when he got to Ann Arbor, he had a place of his own, even if the rest of the apartment was an absolute mess. Which it kind of still is.
The decals went up first thing! Even if The Kid had no furniture, he'd have some trucks in his room.
But as his arrival day approached and we still didn't have any furniture, we were getting anxious. Would we have time to set up his furniture? And would I have time for the craftiness I wanted to do on his garage? (I didn't want to tell him "Well, this is your room, but this shelf is going to look totally different once I have the time to do it..." and then procrastinate my way to not fixing it. I know myself pretty well.)

So, thank goodness the furniture arrived a couple of days before my parents and The Kid. Jake got the call that the movers were two hours away while we were sitting in a theatre watching The Edge of Tomorrow; we were supposed to get 48 hours notice, and so assuming the furniture wouldn't come for days, we went on a movie date and made plans with local friends. Surprise! We canceled all of our plans, and the next day, I ran out to Michael's to get my supplies.

I spent the majority of the next day out on our deck crafting. (I can not express how excited I am to have an outdoor space!) It was a beautiful day for garage-making, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the way this turned out, especially since I had no plans or directions, no Pinterest inspiration, just what I was seeing in my head.

Since I had no directions, after the jump is the step-by-step for what I did, in case anyone else wants to do something similar. Or, if you're just curious.