Build a fairy house with the kids, they said. It’s simple! And fun!, they said.
Mom posted some pics of fairy houses to my Facebook page, and Anya fell in love. So I picked up some stones from the craft store (when I was a child, I’d have been able to pick them up from the edge of the street, but now I have to buy them), some glue, some grout, and a few accessories. Washed out a juice bottle and a vinegar bottle. Started saving little odds and ends. This was going to be easy. Pinterest said so. And we all know Pinterest never lies.
I worked on this thing off and on for months.
Logistics were my biggest downfall. Who knew it was so hard to get things to stick to plastic bottles? First I couldn’t get the bottles to stick to each other. Then I struggled to mask the bottleness of the bottles. I finally ended up creating cones from a couple of disposable plastic cups, and a dome from the top of a soda bottle. But making those stick was also a struggle. It didn’t turn out the way I’d pictured, either, but by this point I was ready to just go with it. Fairies are not master craftsmen, okay?
I was just going to glue the door on the “main” bottle, but Anya insisted I cut an actual door.
I cheated with the windows, though, and claimed the clear plastic was the “glass.” Because cutting bottles with an X-Acto knife is dangerous, and I am clumsy.
There was no actual admission to the vinegar bottle. I didn’t bring that to Anya’s attention. No way was I cutting two bottles and gluing the openings together — I’d never finish with the thing then.
Door applied and windows framed, I began to coat the stuck-together bottles with glue and rocks. And watched the rocks slide right off. I tried mosaic glue. I tried craft glue. I tried superglue. I might as well have been using my own spit.
I wanted to scrap the whole project at this point, but Anya was invested. She was making this house not for just any fairy, but for the Tooth Fairy. Presumably to win better tips for lost teeth. (Of which she has none yet. She plans ahead. Rather like her mother.) I was not allowed to quit.
This was not in my What to Expect books.
There was a fair amount of cussing at this point. Anya abandoned me and went to play in her room. Mother-daughter project indeed.
Finally, I tried hot glue. It wasn’t perfect, but it held the stones in place most of the time. Which is more than I could say for the other glues. However, using hot glue meant Anya absolutely couldn’t help, because I was burning the crap out of my own fingers. She’s 5. Nuh-uh. This project was my baby from that point on.
Hot glue also held the bottles together when the superglue failed. I just hoped it would continue to hold while I put the grout on.
Periodically, a rock would fall. After a while, I even stopped cussing them.
Finally I managed to cover the juice bottle with hot glue and pebbles. And remembered that rocks are heavy. I began to worry how weighty the finished project would be. But I was in it now. Time for the vinegar bottle.
It took me hours, because I had to apply hot glue to each rock individually, then stick it on. Often, a rock would fall after I’d moved on to a different area, and I had to restick it without knocking any other rocks off.
Which, I should add, was not at all an easy task.
Hundreds of rocks. Almost an entire bag of hot glue sticks. And close to a full work week’s time. The end result, I have to admit, looked cooler than I’d hoped.
And then I started applying the grout and, as I’d feared would happen, the rocks started melting off of the bottles like snow drifts in the rain.
You think I was cussing before? If we had a real swear jar instead of an imaginary one, I’d have owed it a week’s grocery money.
Anya was amazing about the whole thing. As excited as she’d been about this project, she was super supportive about the end result. “It’s okay, Mommy. You tried your hardest. Sometimes things just don’t work out.”
I may suck at hot Pinterest projects, but I must not be an awful mom.
And I have my kitchen table back now. Just in time, too; we almost have all of the ingredients for our next batches of soap, and our newest venture — lip balm! Watch this space.