|Puddleduck Pastures by Kelly Snache|
Many may recall the award winning “Fairy’s Door Puzzle Box” designed and created by Mike Toulouzas in 2014. It is a beautiful box featuring a large locked door on the front, and requires the discovery of many hidden and secret items to access the inside. It captures the magical nature of the “secret world” of myth and stories with its theme and design. Kelly Snache, the spiritual woodworker and puzzle box maker from Canada, is full of magical and whimsical ideas, and has created a fairy door of his own as an homage to this enchanting idea. Kel has done this sort of thing before, when he created his Carousel Box, full of brightly colored gears that spin and interact, which was inspired by the Stickman No. 3 “106-Move” puzzlebox, often referred to as the “Gear Box”.
Kel relates, “I think there is a little Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn in me as I grew up playing in the forests and in the meadows and moon beams.” It’s no wonder he embraced the chance to bring his vision of the fairy door to life. Kelly’s door is called “Puddleduck Pastures”, named after (I believe) the charming little fairyland where our hapless heroine (Lil’ Miss Fairy Pants) resides. She has done it again and locked herself out of her house. Your task, should you be clever enough to complete it, is to let her back in by opening the door. You will be rewarded with a lovely little tour of her dainty dwelling. The puzzle is purposefully picturesque, shaped like a little fairy house might be, with a sturdy door, a wee window, a sloping, lopsided roof and a charming chimney. Kel explains, “A sprinkle of my own early life of makeshift forts and playing among the nature spirits was my inspiration for the front design look. Bringing out our Boyhood wonder was my intention.”
|The fairy flits about, awaiting your assistance|
Colorful exotic wood accents abound, as do delicate details. Each little house shares the same overall structure but has unique accents in wood and design, which, I have been told, the fairies appreciate. They are all beautifully rendered and will be immediately recognizable now. Kelly says he put a lot of extra work and detail into the design, and has created something very special. He has also made it fiendishly puzzling. There are many hidden items to discover and use as tools, and a few novel locking mechanisms he has invented just for this puzzle. You’ll need to be patient as you explore and experiment, and a dash of fairy dust might help too. Persist, and you’ll surely appreciate the adorable interior of the fairy abode, which Kel is sure will put a smile on everyone’s face. These interiors were created by Nicole Lees, a public school principle and fairy realm artist who forages all of her own natural materials. Puddleduck Pastures was Kelly’s entry in the 2019 Nob Yoshigahara International Puzzle Design Competition.
|The Green Fairy by Dick Bradsell|
To toast this marvelously magical door we turn to the fairy drink of Le Belle Epoque. Absinthe has its mysterious allure thanks to the romanticism given it during that golden age. I wrote about its fascinating storied history before, when I discussed the “Wormwood” box by Thomas Cummings. Wormwood, or artemisia absinthium, contains the active compound thujone, which was once thought to be a hallucinogenic. This unlikely effect may or may not have been sought out by the bohemian crowd who fondly referred to the spirit as “The Green Fairy”.
Absinthe is a bitter herbal liqueur made with varied infusions but always containing bitter wormwood and anise which lends its distinctive licorice flavor. It is usually green hued but can be clear. Traditionally, it is served by dripping ice cold water through a sugar cube resting on a special slotted spoon on top of the glass. This produces the most magical effect inside the glass, as non-water soluble compounds (such as anise) are released in wispy, smoky strands and clouds known as the “louche”.
|This cocktail is Pasture-ized|
Absinthe can be an acquired taste, but there are a few elegant ways to introduce yourself to its charms. The absinthe frappe is one, and the other is surely a drink which is apropos for this pairing, the Green Fairy. The cocktail is simply an absinthe sour, with fresh lemon juice, sugar, and egg white. A sour is almost always a nice way to experience a new spirit and can open the eyes of the most steadfast doubter. A proper whiskey sour, for example, can change the mind of anyone who thinks they don’t like bourbon. This sour, with absinthe, was created around 1990 by famed London mixologist Dick Bradsell, a man who knew what he was doing, so don’t just take my word for it. Here’s to opening new doors to new experiences. Cheers!
Green Fairy by Dick Bradsell, London, England c. 1990
1 oz absinthe
1 oz lemon
1 oz chilled mineral water
¾ oz sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)
1 dash Angostura bitters
½ oz fresh egg white
Shake without then briefly with ice to chill and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and fairy dust.
For more from Kelly Snache see:
For a prior Dick Bradsell cocktail see: