by: Rita A. Leonard Brooklyn resident Mina Motamedi, age 5, shows off one of the fairy houses she built from natural items and craft materials.

Five-year-old Mina Motamedi has a creative knack that flourishes through her use of materials found in nature.

The Brooklyn youngster, and her mother, Roya, make bird feeders out of fir cones and oyster shells to hang in the branches of shrubs along S.E. Franklin Street. Mina also likes to create 'fairy houses' indoors and out, using castoff wood pieces, moss, pine cones, acorn caps, and assorted craft items.

'Fairies are born out of flowers, but they need houses to live in,' Mina reveals to THE BEE. 'They fly both at night and in the daytime, but they're invisible. Wherever there are sparkles, that's where they're supposed to be.'

Her mother Roya confides that one evening after the family had eaten oysters, they talked about what they might do with the leftover shells. Considering the plight of hungry birds in the winter, they decided to purchase some wild bird seed and lard with which to make outdoor treats.

'We've seen flocks of small winter birds at the feeders, and even a hummingbird once, although I don't think the hummingbird ate any of the birdseed,' Roya says. Portland hosts a remarkable variety of wild bird species, and encouraging children to become interested in them can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment.

Fostering imagination and happy family traditions can also encourage an inquiring mind and a child's sense of creativity. Mina points to her shoes that have twinkling lights in them. 'I got sparkly shoes from the Tooth Fairy,' she says with a giggle. Clearly, this Brooklyn neighborhood youngster is on good terms with birds and fairies.

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