Our Little Free Library Gets a Makeover

Little Free Library original

Little Free Library, January, 2014

When I spotted a Little Free Library in nearby Campbell in 2013, it was love at first site. The idea of my own Little Free Library held great appeal. It took awhile to bring it all together, but in January of 2014 our curbside Little Free Library or LFL made its debut. We dedicated the library in May that year and it’s seen a steady stream of visitors ever since.

My friend Nick Timmerman built the library using reclaimed materials. It’s held up well, but last year it started to leak. I had to cover the library withΒ  recycled packing material to keep it operational during our wet winter.

Little Free Library March 2017

Little Free Library under cover

Now the library is undergoing a facelift.Β  I wanted something fun and whimsical, so I reached out to my friend Donna Pierre. Donna is a talented fine artist and a muralist. It’s a treat to see the details unfold. I’m excited to share the finished library soon. Meanwhile, here are a few pics of the process:

Little Free Library Primed for painting

Primed, painted and sealed

Donna Pierre painting the Little Free Library

Donna Pierre: taping off lines for the log cabin detail

Little Free Library Log Cabin Detail

The log cabin effect

Little Free Library Log Cabin Detail

Back of the library

It’s been unseasonably hot these past few days, after a week of unseasonably cold weather. You never know these days which end is up. Once the weather improves, Donna will be back. I’m so excited.

As you can see from the last photo, my sweet pea jungle is wilting from the heat. I knew it was inevitable, but I’ll be sorry to see them go. The Nigella (love-in-a-mist) are filling in some of the vacated spots, and the cornflowers are hanging in there too. The bees love the Nigella and I love the bees so three cheers for synchronicity.

spring flower bouquet

Flowers for Kathee

My sister stops by every Sunday to pick up a small bouquet for her friend, Kathee who is on hospice.Β  This past weekend I added three miniature yellow roses to the small bouquet. It’s been nice to bring a bit of color to her day.

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50 thoughts on “Our Little Free Library Gets a Makeover

  1. Such a great project! Looking forward to seeing the “new look”. We started a “bring a book, take a book” bookshelf in our little HOA office up here, not as cute but getting used 😊

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    • Barbara, that is great to here. I love any effort to share books. I remember exchanging books with folks I would meet on the train when I was traveling in Europe. Once you were finished with a book there was no incentive to cart it around with you. I haven’t thought about that in years.

      Maybe you can bust out your paints and bring that shelf to life.

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  2. I love the log cabin effect. It will be so cute and fresh. Did not know the roof sprang a leak! Tragic. The bouquet for your sister’s friend is so cheerful and am sure it will be enjoyed. We are having very much the same weather patterns. 30 degree differences from day to day. ;( Can’t wait to see the finished LFL. Hope you didn’t lose too many books to the rain.

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    • Marlene, a quick-thinking library patron noticed the leak. It only damaged one book! It’s not the roof but the back of the library where the wood started to shrink. Now that it’s primed, painted and caulked and will also receive a finishing coat, it should be in good shape much longer. So we’re paralleling each other once again with our weather, eh? It’s tiresome. We’re supposed to hit 87 today, and like you a 30 degree drop over night. It’s supposed to go down to 70 by Friday. I can hardly wait.

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        • 91! Ugh. Come on, Wednesday. I don’t know how I got so lucky losing just one book. Isn’t that amazing? Thank you for thoughtfully picking up books! I hope they are light weight paper books, as I would hate for you to get soaked at the post office with postage costs. I’m excited though. Hang in there…cool weather is on the way.

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          • I’ll send them book rate and they will only be a small box. I’ll let you know when I get them in the mail. Clearing out here. Next week looks toasty too. 😦 I am not a fan of hot. Time to go water. have a wonderfilled day. Hugs, M

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            • It’s stunning how quickly everything has dried out. Rain, rain and more rain, then this crazy heat. All of my self-seeded plants are showing the stress of the heat and lack of water, since they grew along areas without irrigation. I’m going to head to my secret lab where I’ll design a suit that protects me from the sun, while occasionally misting me with a refreshing rain. If it works out, I’ll send you one, too. πŸ˜‰

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                • You are smart to stay covered, Marlene. It took me awhile to realize that a loose, long sleeved shirt was far better protection than any sunblock. I also have a nice hat that drapes back over my neck. My scalp gets hot and itchy in hats though, so I have a bad habit of taking it off. I try to do my weeding at dusk when possible. Hugs, fellow gardener.

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    • Thank you, Marcia! It’s so cool that you’re a librarian. When I was a girl, that’s what I thought I would be when I grew up. I always volunteered in the school libraries and I’m a life-long reader. I appreciate your kind words.

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  3. Aw, what a sweet little bouquet. I’m sure it will brighten her day. What an amazing transformation a little paint applied skillfully has made to the LFL! Can’t wait to see what else happens to it.

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  4. Every time I think of your Little Free Library, Alys, it makes my heart sing! I loved your dedication video. I feel certain that I will be the ‘librarian’ of a LFL one day in the future. It feels like something that I must do! I have noticed them popping up around town over the past year. πŸ™‚ Your log cabin is just delightful and will be so cozy filled with ‘old favorites’ to read and share! You are my LFL inspiration, dear Alys! β™‘

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  5. Your lovely library makes me wish I lived in a street that would make use of one… But we’re a dead end, so no passing traffic, and the vast majority of the neighbours are bogans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogan), only interested in beer, fishing, TV and other less legal pastimes. Never mind, I’ll enjoy yours and its facelift vicariously.

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  6. The LFL is having a most delightful makeover! Is this the same lady who did the beautiful Italianesque landscape in your living room? I can’t remember if I mentioned that there is a LFL just round the corner from me, it’s been there over a year now so I may have. (They aren’t called LFL here as someone was quick to brand the idea and lay claim to it a few years back – but it’s the same concept.) I must send you some more bookmarks ……

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    • Pauline, yes! I met Donna through a mutual friend, and have referred her to a few of my organizing clients. She’s amazing. I’ve been in love with the idea of having a mural in my home for a lifetime. What a treat to have this dream come true. How fun to hear that you have a LFL around the corner. Will you take a photo one day if you think about it, perhaps on a walk with Siddy? And I will never say no to your bookmarks, but only if you can send them with a reasonable postage rate. I kept a few of the ones you gave me two years ago, then distributed them among several LFL’s as well as my own. They’ve all been snapped up!

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  7. I loved the idea of the LFL when I first saw yours. I am intrigued to see what Donna will add to it, because I think she has done an awesome job already. I am thinking that there will be a fairy or two tucked away somewhere. 😊

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  8. Holy ! what a transformation ! It looks like real logs too. Donna’s a magician with her brushes. Did she also do your family area mural? You’re LFL was the first I ever heard of them. Now I see them around the neighbourhood because I look for them. Last year, a LFL up the road had a garden Zuccini in it too. We didn’t take it, but I did take Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ or pre-polictically correct title, ’10 little Indians’. I’ve read it a number of times, but it’s always fun. I wish Murder She Wrote was still on. Hope your feeling better too xox Giant hugs!

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    • Donna is amazing. I love watching her work. Yes, she painted our gorgeous mural a few years back. She painted an amazing faux marble for a friend of mine. You would never know it wasn’t real until you touched it. I linked above to her Flickr album if you want to see more of her work. I have a photo of you in Jasper I think grabbing a book from a LFL. They’re all so unique! I saw the play 10 Little Indians. It is a cringe-worthy title now, a testament to how far we’ve come. She’s a fabulous writer. Giant hugs!

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  9. There are at least two LFLs near me, and I keep thinking of donating some children’s books to them. A few years back, I put some of my bookshelves in the laundry room and people put books on and borrow books. It’s fabulous. And your LFL is so cute! The log look really fits! I also thought your dedication video was really cool. I bet there’s some good books in there!

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    • Lisa, what fun! I’m glad you have LFLs popping up in your neighborhood, and I’m equally delighted that you’ve set up a lending library in your laundry room. That is so much fun. There is something so rewarding about sharing books. I’m glad you like the log cabin effect. The details are amazing. Thank you for watching the video.

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  10. It’s going to be wonderful with the log cabin effect. Your beautiful sweet peas and other flowers make a very pretty bouquet and I’m sure help to bring a little cheer to your sister’s friend.

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  11. Love the new log cabin look; although it’s a shame you had to loose the quotes on the front. Perhaps you can bring them back somewhere else? Donna is such a talented artist; can’t wait to see it finished! How did you resolve the leak issue?

    You have such a beautiful bounty from your garden; so nice to share it with your sister’s friend!

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    • Sara! It’s so good to hear from you. Thanks for noticing the quotes. They were part of a scrap-booking kit from years ago, and they worked perfectly on the library. The seams of the library were caulked to make it water tight and the paint will help reduce shrinkage from the elements. I’m noticing a gap between the doors as well, so perhaps a bit of weather stripping is in order, too.

      My garden has been producing non-stop this spring. It’s wonderful to be able to share it with others, especially someone in need of day-brightening. And yes, Donna is a great talent, always ready with new and interesting ideas.

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  12. I am absolutely SMITTEN with your LFL! It’s no surprise that someone as kind and talented as yourself should attract others of the same ilk … but I must say that Donna’s little “log cabin” is nothing short of astounding! If only she could work the same miracle with your poor wilted peas, eh? Here’s to a more moderated weather pattern in the weeks ahead, Alys … xx

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    • (((HeideBee))) You bring such cheer to this post. Thank you. Donna is a lovely person inside and out. She’s fun to be around and I know you two would get along swimmingly. Today she added a glaze to the roof which now looks like it has a few shingles. It is so much fun watching the transformation. Alas, the sweet peas have no use for the heat. They’re bending over, pumping out seeds and even that glorious scent has waned. That’s spring for you. The good news is that underneath that blanket of goodness, lies another layer of native plants that do like the San Jose heat. The dandelions are still there taunting me. I hope I can get them before they too go to seed.

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      • How magical it must be to watch your LFL’s transformation! If only it were as easy to give full-size houses a makeover, eh? Ha ha.

        As sad as it is to imagine your wilted and defunct peas, I suppose we can take comfort in imagining all those seeds taking hold. There’s something so reassuring about nature’s powers of regeneration, isn’t there? Except when it comes to dandelions, of course. AAARGH, I feel your pain! Just last night my husband was suggesting that someone should invent a vacuum contraption that fits over the puffballs and sucks up all the seeds. I thought he was brilliant, until I imagined all the hungry finches that would be denied their breakfast (and I’ve played Angry Birds, so I know just how ugly this could get!). So for now I’ve resigned myself to playing the role of “grumbling weeder” in this thing called The Circle of Life. πŸ™‚

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  13. I love that log cabin effect! I wonder if we could do our whole house up like that… πŸ˜‰ Sad to see the sweet peas wilting, but there is still a lot of colour and green to enjoy in your front garden! πŸ™‚

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  14. Beautiful makeover. I have some books I shall send along to the Little Library. I am sorry the sweet peas are at the end but I am sure you have something else lovely that you will show us. I do remember that the Sweet peas have a short life. It used to make me sad to see them go so soon in Lompoc. Thanks for sharing. Have fun and keep reading.

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    • (((Amy))) That’s so thoughtful of you. I never say no to books for the LFL. I just published an update today. Donna has outdone herself. I think you’ll like it. As for the sweet peas, I know they’ll be back again next year. We’ve replanted some natives plants and a few pumpkins along the curb. They’ve been struggling with this heatwave, but now that temps are cooling down, I’m hoping they’ll perk up. xo

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  15. It is just so perfectly fitting that you have a friend giving of her talents to give the LFL a makeover. And of course before that, Nick gave of his time, and you give of yours ❀
    I love the log cabin exterior, and can't wait to see the final reveal!

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