Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Little Free Library - designed to look like a fairy house.

My two older boys are part of a Cub Scout Troop that needed a community service project.  A little birdie told me that the Master Gardener in charge of the children's garden at Mt. Fir park was hoping to put in a Little Free Library.  It seemed like a perfect fit.

The first thing we did was have each boy draw a design.  It was fun to see what their imaginations came up with and we hope to have a binder with all their drawings stored in the Little Free Library for visitors to enjoy.  The boys came up with dragon libraries, log houses and snakes that had conveyor belts and spit out books.  But we settled on making the Little Free Library to look like a fairy house because it will be located right next to the fairy garden.
We did our best to plan out what else we thought the boys could do verses what might be better done by adults.  My husband built the structure.  He took measurements of all the children's books we own, well maybe not all, and came up with a size.  Then he built it to be like a Home Depot project kit.  It all slid together and could be hand screwed.
Each of the boys took a turn diligently working to get their screw in tight.
Now that we had a blank canvas, it was time to attach the rocks, bark, sticks, and moss.  Since we had to use heavy duty glue and fit everything together like a puzzle, we weren't sure if this would be a good task for this age range of Cub Scouts.  We did, however, have each Scout pick a rock and write their name on it with a permanent marker.  These would be glued onto the Little Free Library.

My boys and I went on a hike through my Aunts woods and got a lot more awesome stuff to decorate it with.  We had meant to have the Scouts collect all the material as another way to be involved but ran out of time.

Now it was time to assemble and I recruited my Mother to help.  I am so glad she was willing to help me.  It would have been a really big challenge to do on my own.  It took us 5 hours to complete the front, left and right sides.  The most time was spent finding all the right rocks to fit together along the bottom.  But it was worth it because I love having the boys names scattered around the bottom of the library.

On the front we used river rock along the bottom, strips of bark up each side and above the flashing we layered bark chips that my Mom uses as ground cover in her garden.  We stuffed the eves with a rich green moss and filled the space between the bark chips and flashing with light green wispy moss. We trimmed one edge with a really cool twig covered in moss.  I am sure the twigs will get snapped off over time.  But it looks cool for now.
The sides were centered around these two awesome pieces of bark that inspired the whole design.  The pieces with the holes which make perfect fairy windows.  We started with the rocks at the base but we had the bark piece laying on the side as we worked so we could get the rocks and bark to match up.  Then we just started filling it all in with more bark, sticks, moss and pine cones.
 Here is a close up.  We discovered that if you pop the top portion of a pine cone off it gives you a great little rose bud looking accent.
Here is the backside which my husband covered in bark.  He actually took large pieces of bark and cut them into strips and laid this on their sort of like wood flooring.  If the pieces of bark were wide they would have too much of a curve on the backside and they would not be easily glued down.
 This is the other side with it's fairy window and the rest of the Scout names.
 Zoomed out to see all of it.
When my husband gets home he will put the metal roof on and the little door knobs on the front then we will transport it carefully to the garden and get it installed.  (Once it's completed I will add more pictures and get the dimensions of our Little Free Library to share as well.)

The night after we got it installed the Scouts will met us down at the garden and help us to put the finishing touches on the library by filling it with books.

On June 2nd we held the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and invited the whole community.  We had the children's librarian from the Independence library there and even the Mayor who helped officiate.  The Cub Scouts started the night with the flag ceremony.

Then Mayor John gave a wonderful speech thanking the Master Gardeners, the Cub Scouts and the parents for helping to make the community a better place by making this library.
This is a video of the official ribbon cutting.

Here it is a few months later, still standing, at the Children's Garden.  We have already gone through a lot of books which is what it is all about and we are officially on the Little Free Library registry.
My husband made the durable metal roof which I am glad for because the garden and the library get watered daily.  Even still it looks pretty much the same as the day it was installed.  The only thing I have noticed so far is that the little sticks that make up the windows keep getting pulled out.  They really can't be glued in that firmly.  Every time we are there I grab sticks from the ground, break them to fit, and put them back.  Super easy.  But I might talk to my husband about a better way to permanently stick them.
This has been our Little Free Library journey.  It has been such a fun service project.  We continue to get books donated to us and make trips routinely to put them in the library, typically, not all of them make it into the Little Free Library because it's inevitable that each child wants to take one home.

1 comment:

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