Secret Fairy Garden in an Upcycled Wheelbarrow

[As always, click on any photo to view it larger]

Nothing renders a trusty wheelbarrow “useless” faster than a broken handle.  And as you can see, The Seasonal Home is now the proud owner of one. (LOL)


My first instinct was to head to the DIY store to purchase a new handle, but let me be the first to tell you that they are only sold in pairs and are super expensive!  And as you can see (in the photos below), there is only a $20 difference between a pair of handles & a brand new wheelbarrow.  So, I decided to up-cycle my ol’ one-armed wheelbarrow and purchase a new one for yard duty.


First, I cleaned the wheelbarrow and let it dry completely.


Next, I spray painted it (using a spray paint that doesn’t require priming and adheres to most surfaces) to coordinate with the other accessories in my yard (chandelier, bird bath & outdoor planters) that I’ve also painted bright blue (check out my older garden posts to see those ideas).

It needed more color, so I accented it with light green, using a stencil to create the design, outlining the design elements (using a black marker) to make them pop.


Once it was painted, I looked for the perfect spot to place it, in my garden, and found an empty area next to an orange tree I recently planted.  Also, I’ll place it so the side with the missing handle faces the fence (wow!  need to re-stain that soon…lol).  So, the wheelbarrow will be perfect there, because I can move it once my tree grows large enough to fill in the area.

I knew if I filled the wheelbarrow with some soil and plants, I would have instant height, volume & color, so this was the perfect spot!  I was so excited that my wounded wheelbarrow warrior would accomplish 3 things:  bring my bright blue accent color to another garden spot, fill a hole in my garden bed and create height, becoming a triple problem-solver.

But, I had a 4th idea – to also tuck in a secret fairy garden!  I already had a little fairy, but she needed a cottage.  You can find fairy houses in stores, but they are usually pricey.  Luckily, I found this bird house in the clearance at Home Goods for only $12 and with a small renovation, it will be just as cute.


I turned the bird house into a fairy cottage, by gluing a doll house door (using a piece of gift wrap for a curtain) to the front.  Before I glued it to the bird house, I painted it, added an address and (snap) doorbell.  The front door step is a length of balsa wood (that I also painted).  Of course, any respectful fairy would busy herself by collecting trinkets, so I glued a few of those to the front door step also.

To protect my fairy cottage from in-climate outdoor weather, I coated it with urethane and glued it to a stand, so it wouldn’t touch the dirt.

With a few more accessories in place, my up-cycled wheelbarrow now has a secret…. a little fairy and her sweet cottage.

Click on photo to view larger detail

And now, I have a brand new, gorgeous focal point in my garden, filling up a (formerly) open space with color, texture and whimsy.  This would be a great summer project to create with children of any age.  Suggestion: consider adding a couple of new accessories to match the changing seasons (mini pumpkins/hay bales, basket of eggs, tiny Christmas tree, etc.) to keep the fun fresh, which would also make a great seasonal tradition you can all look forward to!

And now, for a touch of  “FALL” in the Fairy’s Garden:

Enjoy the Creativity!


P.S.  Here are a few other “everyday” items you might consider re-purposing into a garden planter before you discard them:


15-minute Fall Wreath

Life can keep us pretty busy, without much time to create a seasonal decoration, even if we wanted to.  No problem… I have a 15-minute Fall project for you… a pretty and multi-function wreath!

You will need (all available at your local craft store):

  • 1 Styrofoam Wreath (square or rectangular and size of your choice)
  • 1 Package of silk Fall Leaves (apx. 20-25 med-large)
  • 1 Package of Floral Craft Pins (usually available in 100 or more count)

And that’s it!   Begin by placing the first silk Fall leaf on the top of your wreath form:

Continue adding leaves, using the floral craft pins to secure each one to the styrofoam wreath form:

Add a final craft floral pin to the upper back of the wreath form if your plan is to hang it on a door, wall, window or above a fireplace.

In about 15 minutes, you will have covered the front of your styrofoam wreath form with Fall leaves.  Depending on where you decide to display or use it, you may also want to pin some Fall leaves around the outside edge so the styrofoam cannot be seen from the side view.

Of course, you can display your 15-minute wreath on a door:

Some other ideas for display are as a candle ring:

Or around an everyday object in your home to “Autumn” it up!


And here’s a Rectangular version:

Jack Stacks! Adding a “Cute Spook” to your Garden Urns

Anyone who’s been reading my blog over the past 2 years knows how much I enjoy recycling and re-purposing decorative accents.  And here’s another goodie!

I have these awesome, inexpensive styrofoam planter urns that I have always used during the Christmas Holidays.

This year, instead of waiting for Christmas, I decided to re-purpose my garden planter urns with a Halloween look.

First, I removed my Christmas wreath and over-sized ornament ball from the urn.  [If you like this look and can’t find an over-sized ornament like mine, use a gazing ball]

Then, I placed a Fall wreath on top.

Next, I added a few pieces of styrofoam (recycled from a package I received in the mail) to the center of the urn to fill in & provide a place on which to rest my stack ‘O Jack-o-lanterns.

Then, I placed my lighted Jack-o-Lanterns inside the center of the wreath, resting them on top of the styrofoam and the transformation was done!  I turned a Christmas planter urn design into a Fall/Halloween one, with very little effort, doubling my decorating dollar.

My pumpkins are made out of mesh, stretched over a wire frame.  They’re becoming more & more popular because of their bright, reflective ability, when lit.  Also, they are open, on the bottom of each, for easy stacking.  However, if you want to use craft pumpkins to create this look, simply use a craft knife to remove a portion of the  bottom of each pumpkin you stack above the bottom one (it is not necessary to cut an opening in the bottom one).  This will not only flatten their bottom (for easier stacking) but will also provide an opening for insertion (of the top) of the pumpkin underneath.  Hot gluing them together would also add additional stability between your stacked pumpkins.

I could also picture tall, glittered, lit branches in the center of the wreath.  It would be easy to keep them in place, by adding the styrofoam deeper inside the planter to anchor them in.

EASY Fall Wreath

Wreath 2

Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.rved.


Okay, so when you see those complicated-looking wreaths in stores, you think, “I could NEVER make that!”  Well, here’s a shortcut that may have you changing your mind and you won’t use one ounce of hot glue!

Faux Greenery wreaths should not just be reserved for Christmas; they also make a great backdrop for fall & spring too.  Just make sure your wreath has a variety of greenery, other than just pine or fir – that’s the first secret.

Next, head to a craft or super store & purchase a nicely complicated garland.  By complicated, I mean – full of many different floral elements like berries, flowers, grapevine, seed pods, fruit etc.  Just spend a little extra so you get a nice, full garland.  Make or purchase a wired-ribbon bow and decide where, on your wreath, you want to place it.  Before you attach it to your wreath, lay your garland on top of the wreath to make sure it covers the wreath’s entire circumference.   If the garland is a little longer than the wreath is round, that’s even better because it gives you excess to play with.  Starting at a point on the wreath front where you will eventually place & attach your bow, twist a couple of pieces of the wreath’s greenery around one small section on one end of your garland.  Continue tucking the garland into your wreath (moving around the circumference of the wreath) & twisting greenery pieces around it (here & there) to secure it.   Hopefully, your garland was longer than the wreath’s circumference.  If so, you can tuck the garland into your wreath in a serpentine manner, which will allow the garland to fill the wreath front better & in a more interesting manner.

Once you reach the other end of the garland (and it’s okay if the 2 ends don’t quite meet because your bow will cover that area), simply add your bow and your wreath is complete!

Check out this one that one I made for myself, using my short-cut method.  It took me 10 minutes because my beautiful and full garland did all the decorative work for me!

And when you’re ready to celebrate Halloween, just hang  a spooky sign in the center of the wreath, which is easily removable.  That way, when Halloween is over, but you still need a fall wreath on your door for Thanksgiving, your new “easy” wreath will once again be perfect!

HELPFUL HINT:  Change your bow & garland out for something more “Christmas” and your greenery wreath just became useful again, for the entire holiday season!


Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

Create a Jack-o-Lantern (Pumpkin) scene!


Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

Hopefully, you have found the hollow foam pumpkins in stores in which you can carve a Fall or Halloween designs.  They are awesome because you can save your creative design and hard work to display year after year!

This idea, however, takes that creative process a step further.   I was inspired to create this Jack-o-Lantern scene inside a foam pumpkin when I found an adorable Halloween, Trick-or-treat figurine in a store (see photo).  The figurine is by the artist Dean Griff and this line of collectibles features very sweet animals doing “people” things.  Dean is a Florida-based artist who began his career working for Disney, but ventured out with his own designs.  The collectible line is called “Charming Tails”.  Okay, now for the details about the design….

First, I carved a simple Jack-o-Lantern face on the front of the pumpkin.  Next, I carved a platform out of styro foam, which I painted black.  I cut-out a false bottom in the back underneath side of the styro foam before I glued it inside the pumpkin and made sure the back did not quite reach the inside back of the pumpkin (allow apx. 1-1/2″ clearance in the very back).  The reason for this was to allow ventilation and clearance for the lighted glow of a (village house-type) corded nightlight.  Simply carve a hole in the back of the pumpkin, near the back bottom to insert your corded nightlight.  (corded means it is electrical, like the type used in a Christmas village ceramic house).

I painted the inside of the pumpkin with  a diluted (by water) black acrylic paint, using a (long-handled) paint brush to swirl a random pattern that looked like a hazy fog.  Look for inexpensive (leafless) wire trees in a dollar or craft superstore (look for them being sold as village accessories) and glue tiny bats to them (check out store scrapbook depts. or stores that sell miniatures, even on line for these); these trees are easy to push into the styro foam so they stay in place.

Inside of pumpkin

Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

Then, add your figurine (if you choose to add one); if not, just complete your scene by adding miniature pumpkins, hay bales, a scarecrow and fall leaves (inside and coming out of the openings) for the finishing touches.  The last thing I did was add some larger fall leaves and berries as well as a smaller Charming Tails figurine to the top, gluing them in place.  [note: paint the openings you carve in the front of the pumpkin black to make them disappear].  This project was fairly easy to do and will bring you years of future enjoyment each and every Halloween season.  Great project to let children or grandchildren help out with because there’s no right or wrong with the painting inside.  Enjoy!  Share photos of your own with me if you like.  I’d love it!! 🙂

halloween_pumpkin top view

Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

halloween_pumkin top