LINDSBORG — Darlene Hrdlicka is determined to spread positivity and peace; something she did not always have in her life.
Looking for ways to thank those who guided her through her struggles, Hrdlicka first offered to walk their dogs.
“I was looking down and I started noticing all these beautiful pieces around the community,” Hrdlicka said.
The idea for another way to give back sprang into her head — picking up items she found in nature to create fairy houses.
“I started making these for my girlfriends to put in their gardens and their homes,” Hrdlicka said.
With her houses being well received, Hrdlicka decided to build and sell them at craft fairs in a booth she named Lucy’s Love.
“I have a very good friend who called me Lucy. We were ‘Lucy and Ethel’ forever because, if it was going to happen, it would happen to the two of us,” Hrdlicka said. “Lucy’s Love is how I found love again — I found love for life, and I could not have done it without her.”
Primitive fairies, bug catchers and recycled wood trays and shelving are also sold in the booth, but the fairy houses are Hrdlicka’s showstoppers.
“I can’t sing, I can’t knit, I can’t quilt, but I can paint and build houses to beat the band,” Hrdlicka said. “If it puts anything in the atmosphere as positive, I’m all in.”
Large pieces of bark are glued to a base to form the walls of the fairy houses.
“I first put them together and shape them with a glue gun,” Hrdlicka said.
Hrdlicka uses her creativity, imagination and artistic eye to take bits and pieces and make them into a whole. She uses recycled items — bookmarks, crystals, miniature animals and other thrift store finds — in her fairy houses.
“Fairies are very resourceful, very positive and they like sparkly stuff,” Hrdlicka said.
Each fairy house is constructed to be meaningful both with literal, printed words and figurative imagery.
“The ladders mean ‘reach for the stars,’” Hrdlicka said. “There’s a symbolism in everything.”
A piece of jewelry formerly owned by Hrdlicka’s late mother adorns each fairy house she creates.
“I’ve been very blessed to give back,” Hrdlicka said.
Tiny interior lights can be switched on inside the fairy houses, making them useful as nightlights.
Seeing children study the scenes she creates gives Hrdlicka satisfaction.
“The whole idea is to get them back to using their imagination,” Hrdlicka said.
The fairy houses are popular with school teachers and counselors.
“The counselors, they like them because they break the silence,” Hrdlicka said. “They talk about the house and they have little fairies they can look for in the counselor’s room and so that breaks the ice.”
Aiding people in shifting their thoughts from the negative situations in their lives onto the serene, symbolic scene of a fairy house is rewarding for Hrdlicka.
“They’re peace pieces; that’s the whole idea,” Hrdlicka said.
Lucy’s Love will be a part of the Henry’s Chase market, held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 21 at 2200 S Hertzler Rd. in Halstead, and will also be present at the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair Sept. 15.
For more information about Lucy’s Love, visit https://www.facebook.com/LucysLoveFairyHouses.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.