3 ways to make your community beautiful
Have you heard the quote “Magic is everywhere…you just need to look for it”? Discovering magic can happen in your own neighbourhood when a person spies something unique and unexpected nestled in nature. Memories are created and a sense of community pride is increased. The following three projects will not only make your neighbourhood more beautiful, but the lasting effects on how the community felt will remain for years. The projects are also low budget and mostly created from upcycled materials making them great for families to plan this spring.
Have you ever seen a tree knob created by nature on the outside of tree bark and instantly checked twice to see if it was real? That feeling of wonder can easily be handcrafted by a child and placed at the bottom of a special tree by making your own fairy door. It doesn’t matter if the cut around the door is made by a first-timer with a jig saw or the polished design of someone more professional – fairy doors evoke a strong emotion and always bring a squeal of delight when discovered. And when I say there is a little Peter Pan syndrome inside all of us, I believe that even adults and teens see the magic.
This spring, select a few lucky trees along your favourite trail or yard and create fairy doors to live at the bottom. Measure out a perfect size that can be secured without too much difficulty in the nook of a tree, have your family decorate the door with weather resistant paint, and add a doorknob for the perfect finishing touch. Unless the fairy doors are going into a person’s yard, don’t invest too much money in the project because the risk of vandalism is high. But when a child wonders where the door has gone – you can reassure them that the magic of the fairy or gnome moved the door to a new home. Notes can be left for the fairies inside the tree or if the door doesn’t open, offerings from nature can be left outside for fairies to find; pinecones, flowers, feathers, acorns, etc.
This activity is for the inner grandma in all of us; unless of course you know that knitting and crochet has become hip this year thanks to Pinterest inspiration and handmade love! Knitting is also a great activity to teach children and what could be more magical than making a sleeve for a tree in your yard, fence post, or pole? Yarn bombing is extremely beautiful – something about the bright, knit colours resting against nature that is very memorable. This photo and yarn bomb project was completed by Knitta.
Working with your city’s Art Council or Museum is a great idea if you want to expand yarn bombing into the community with kids. It will help ensure your project lasts since a pair of scissors can quickly bring this project down – but that is the key reason why it’s considered to be a harmless method of graffiti. A breathtaking example of yarn bombing actually happened in Vancouver March 2011 when the cherry tree behind Joy Kogawa’s (Vancouver author and poet) childhood home no longer blossomed. 50 crafters gathered together to change that and yarn bombed her tree with stunning knit bark and garlands of knit blossoms. The effect was stunning and I encourage you to read the entire article shared via Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Blog. Below is a picture from that article – notice how beautiful the knit blossoms look in nature?
Little free library
With so many parents trying to detach their children from electronics and re-introduce them to the love of reading, the time to build or use a Little Free Library is now. And with the growth of thousands more of these libraries popping up around the world, their popularity is easily understood. The concept is to approach a Girl and Boy Scout troop, carpenter, or artists and see if they would be willing to build some Libraries as a community service project. Ask neighbours and friends to contribute books. Keep them informed about what they can bring by leaving a note in your Library asking for a certain type of books. Real people sharing their love for special books is the best part of building a free library and I love this quote from the Little Free Library site “These aren’t just any old books, this is a carefully curated collection and the library itself is a piece of neighborhood art!”
Check out the examples of finished community libraries from the Little Free Library Facebook page and you’ll see why they are so special and would really enhance community spirit!
From being involved in community projects with my family, I know the people creating projects get just as much fun and joy out of the planning, building, and crafting. Harness your own imagination and bring together a team of people committed to creating magic this spring.