Magical Celebrations: Finding Diagon Alley in Edmonton’s Highlands 

Dear Fairy Friends,

I have to confess a little something: as a new, human mother, I had no idea how one celebrates human birthdays! I researched the topic online and may have gone a little overboard with my first daughter. Having once been Fey, I had our understanding of birthdays, which are to reflect on the years past and set our sights on goals for the years ahead. Our kin and friends do celebrate with us, but not with balloons, gifts and cake. Instead, we will often invite the birthday fairy to a walk to collect acorns and stop and chat with the forest. We might suggest collecting herbs and preparing them together, making teas, baking – things that are done in the enjoyment of one another’s company. I will note that the human tradition of adding a cake to the celebration is brilliant! 

Now that I have had my third child, my son, I find that our fairy and human traditions are blending into one another. We made him some Unicorn Dip instead of a cake and held a very small celebration, decorating the table with books that included fairy tales, wooden knights, lords and ladies. We did so in anticipation of a magical, weekend-long celebration. 

We tidied the cottage, found care for our pets and drove to Edmonton. The trail of magic got stronger as the event drew closer, we arrived on the Friday for the Harry Potter Pop-Up shop in the Highlands area being held on Saturday, September 16, year 2017 on this side of The Veil. 

The leaves on the beautiful residential streets were showing off their newly golden tips by rustling in the sunlight. Rounding the corner, leaving our car behind, we left behind the Muggle world. 

Leaving the Muggle world

It felt as if we had wandered into Diagon Alley as we saw the Honeydukes sign, witches and wizards in their house colours everywhere, WANTED posters and pages of The Daily Prophet up on the buildings. There was also a wand maker with an exquisite outdoor boutique that my children saw and were immediately draw to. 

Connorvanders & Co had wooden cases open in their tent, which must have been enchanted  because no ordinary person would have been able to fit the displays inside a tent that size. Very clever spell work! The wands were on display: some straight and at attention, others with secrets tucked into their kinks and curls, some slender and cunning, others robust and cheerful. Personalities radiated from the cases – these were no ordinary hunks of wood, I felt that in my bones. While fairies rarely use wands, we are often acquainted with a number of witches and wizards. Wands – real wands – have energies about them. Let me attempt to explain a little what I mean. 

Have you ever chosen a pet? Often, there is a connection that makes you select one over another equally cute pet. We gravitate towards certain wands and if you can imagine it, the connection to the wand is as deep a connection as with a special pet. These were wands of the highest quality and there was no question that they would, in fact, chose their witch or wizard. 

A Ravenclaw wizard helped each of my girls hear the call of the wand wanting to be theirs. My eldest daughter refused to even touch the first wand offered to her, while my second daughter’s hand shot out and would not drop the first wand shown to her. My wand surprised me greatly. After all this time and my past experience as Fey using magic, it was lovely to be surprised like that! There was even a wand perfect for my 1 year old son. 


Connorvander himself then demonstrated a defensive spell to my children. He explained that in order cast a successful Patronus charm, the caster must first think of memories that make them happy. Then, they must put their wand to their forehead to draw on those memories and, in a fluid motion, while saying “expecto Patronum”, lower the wand to the heart and then out to cast. The memories and love from the heart project the Patronus. We discovered that my eldest daughter has a tigger as a Patronus, my youngest daughter a cat and mine was revealed to my children: a ferret. 

Patronus charm lesson
Perhaps Hogwarts has found a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?

After the charm lesson, we also purchased some Patronus Bundles, as one can never be too prepared in case of a run-in with Dementors! These also came with bundles of sage to help cleanse spaces of negative energy – something Dementors are drawn to. Upon opening these bundles, we also discovered that the art on the bundles was created by a local artist! 

Beautiful and protective Patronus Bundles!
Local witch talent

The children adopted adorable Pygmy Puffs (very low maintenance, highly recommended by fellow mother witches) and a couple of bottled spells. The witch helping them complete the adoption papers and select their spells made their experience one to remember, answering the questions as they bubbled over, like a cauldron full to the brim. The experience at Connorvanders & Co was remarkable and I was astounded to have found such a knowledgable wand maker, wand fitter and Pygmy Puff breeder. 

Adopted Pygmy Puff, Lily
Amortentia potion

The incredible smell from Honeydukes, which is usually known by Muggles as Be-A-Bella, drew us into the line. While we waited, the Edmonton Aurors Quidditch Club had brooms and hoops set up for the littles to test their aptitude for the sport. I am a terrible player since I am slow on a broom, but we discovered we have a Quidditch witch in the family with my youngest daughter!


Inside the shop, the children filled a bag with Chocolate Frogs, other magical sweets and even some of Dumbledore’s favourite Sherbet Lemon Drops. We had Giggle Potions made out of Buttescotch Beer and we bought a case of it with our galleons. 

What cards will we find inside?

With our purses significantly lighter but with brand new wands in our grasp, we took a little break before heading back. Returning to the car confirmed that the street was cloaked in some strong magic because the minute we got near the car, we were back in the Muggle world. 

We rested, changed our clothing to dress robes and headed back. Sure enough, at about the same distance from our car, there was a slight shimmer and we were back in the wizarding world. To Muggles, La Boheme is a restaurant. In actuality, it is a very clever disguise for a way to Great Hall of Hogwarts. We had to pass through Platform 9 3/4, use our Hogwarts Express ticket to arrive at the Great Hall. It was lit by candles floating near the ceiling and we were seated as guests at the Slytherin table. 

Got my letter to Hogwarts!
Passage to the Hogwarts Express

We feasted from the inspired menu and enjoyed being sorted by Sorting Hat cupcakes. We had made educated guesses as to our houses prior, the cupcakes confirmed our suspicions! They were filled with coloured icing in the centre that sorted you into one of the four houses: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. We have 1 Ravenclaw (myself), 1 Hufflepuff (my youngest daughter), 1 Gryffindor (my eldest daughter), and 2 Slytherins (my husband and son). 

We also enjoyed Pumpkin Pasties and celebrated my son’s birthday with some of the birthday cake Hagrid had baked for Harry. 

Happy first birthday to my son

We did not manage to get in to Majesty and Friends, but harbour no hard feelings! We traded stories with other magical families while we waited and although the line-up was past the endurance of my girls (who are not very patient – possibly a fairy trait passed on), we made friends! We will absolutely go back another time to pick some of the homemade bath salts and candles there and hopefully try some of the famous chocolate made by The Violet Chocolate Company

That night, the children were tucked in bed with bottles of Butterscotch Beer and their Pygmy Puffs, eager to practice more charm work in the morning. This was part 1 of our birthday celebration! I would like to thank all of the businesses that revealed their true, enchanted nature, to the lucky ones who dared to venture into their world. We know it was no dream, we know that the magic was real because we have our wands, potions, Chocolate Frogs and Pygmy Puffs as reminders of the wonder. 

Fierce Azkaban escapee
Butterscotch Beer by The Flying Cauldron
Witch on the lose
May you find wonder in the everyday, maybe even wander into a magical world just around the curb.

With love,

Your Lady Star

Stardust Script 

Mom, where does Stardust come from?”

“When a star shifts a little, the glowing dust of the ages may be shaken lose from her skirts. If you are lucky enough to catch some of this Stardust, keep it close to your heart on cold nights to stay warm, practicing your letters in it will always help you find the right words to comfort an aching heart, and just before the glow dims, carry it to a field and set it free with a true wish. Wishes on Stardust are precious things, because if the wish is kind and pure enough, it may spark the birth of a new star.”

-Conversations with my daughter, Garnet


Stars are so beautiful and Stardust from them is a true gift. If you make this recipe, it may not be as potent as celestial Stardust, but leave it on a table in the moonlight, and the stars will smile on it. It will be imbued with wonderful magic to practice letters and words in and can make wishes of the heart comes true. Dress warmly however because you cannot trust this variation to keep you warm! 

To make your own Stardust, you will need:

  • A box of table salt 
  • Food colouring of your preferred colour
  • Glitter
  • An alphabet book or cards with words you would like to practice
  • Wands, feathers or something to write in the sand
  • A mixing bowl
  • A spatula
  • Crowns and wings optional but highly recommended!

 
I made Stardust for 2 children and used half a box of salt. You can always make more or less, if you make a lot you can simply store it! We emptied the salt into a bowl and added 3 drops of neon pink food colouring, and 3 drops of magenta. The food colouring will stick to the salt, it requires a little firm pressing and stirring with a spatula to spread it evenly throughout. Next, we mixed in some pink glitter given to us by Fairy Friend, Susan. To add a little more sparkle, we tossed in some pink glitter hearts. Really, I am not sure there is such a thing as too much glitter! 

I then poured some into baking pans. You will want to be a little sparse, if there is a lot of sand, the letters traced will be harder to see. This mixture did not stain the pans, but you can always line them first with pretty wrapping paper or foil to make the letters stand out even more. 

We attached our wings securely and adjusted our best crowns, mixed the Stardust by hand to enjoy how silky soft it was, and then sifted the pans to even it out. We took up our wands, ready to practice our letters. 

I gave each of my daughters an alphabet book beside their pan of Stardust. I gave my youngest daughter Canada ABC by Paul Covello, and my eldest daughter The ABCs of RPGS by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland. They are both wonderful books with large, clear letters for the children to copy with ease. 


We worked on letters for about half an hour and then I added My Little Ponies and Thomas mini trains for the girls to play with while I worked on dinner. Just before we put the trays away, I gave the girls tea cups. They scooped some of the Stardust into the teacups, saving it for wish-making.


After baths, we put on our rain boots and walked on to the damp grass, tea cups cradled in our palms against the wind. It was a perfect wind, gentle yet with enough force to carry our dust up high and have our wishes whispered to the stars. 


What we wished for, I cannot share with you. That is one of the cardinal wish-rules: they are a secret kept between your heart and the stars. 

May you wish wisely and enjoy this activity!

With love,

Your Lady Star

Fairy Cloud Dough

Dear Fairy Friends,

What has it been like for you, with littles going back to school recently? I find myself looking for my eldest all the time, only to remember that I packed her lunch and dropped her off at school. She doesn’t look back once she runs on to the playground, while I am constantly looking at her picture during the day.

At home, I still have two littles. My middle child, my daughter Minka, and my son, Sparrow. Minka is three and full of magic, jumping beans. I try to keep her out of mischief by making different crafts with her. This week, we made some Fairy Cloud Dough. The recipe calls for very easy to source ingredients, the dough stores exceptionally well and it is a great sensory play activity. 

To make Fairy Cloud Dough, you will need:

  1. One cup of hair conditioner
  2. 2 1/2 cups of cornstarch 
  3. Food colouring 
  4. Sparkles
  5. A bowl 
  6. A mixing tool such as a spoon or spatula


The conditioner we used (Equate with rose and passion fruit extract) had a pretty, pastel pink colour already. It smells nice as well, and it is under $2.50 at Walmart. 

This is optional but so much fun: Minka wore fairy wings while we made our dough. She also chose to wear her rainbow twirl dress since rainbows are gifts from the Air Fey we were talking about. 

To make the dough, firstly you measure the hair conditioner and add it to a bowl. Next, you add the 2 1/2 cups of cornstarch. Minka did all the mixing and I helped her with the measuring. 


Our dough was already a lovely pink shade, but we added a few drops of neon pink and blue food colouring.


This made for swirly dough that turned a shade of lilac after being handled. 

Lastly, we added sparkles. Just as I started to say “gently now, not the whole bottle”, Minka emptied an entire container of glitter into the dough. I am actually thrilled she did because we had such sparkly Fairy Cloud Dough! It was the prettiest we had ever made! You can be as sparing or daring as you like with this addition, you can stick to one colour or a few – rainbow dough is great!

I usually give the children things to put into the dough and figurines to have fun with. On this occasion, I gave Minka some coloured feathers and some Playmobil creatures and people. It is difficult to clean off toys afterwards, but if you soak them in water for 10-15 minutes, the Fairy Cloud Dough is easy to rinse. 


I try to teach the children about The Fey everyday and this was a lesson in playfulness. I would be a terrible Guardian if I didn’t pass on the Fairy Lore to my children! The Air Fey teach us to be lighthearted and if we are weighed down by too many negative thoughts or worries, we can look to them to help us and inspire us to let go of unnesecary baggage. The day we made this dough, Minka was sad that her sister wasn’t home every day any more. Making the Fairy Cloud Dough helped alter her mood and set the tone for a great day. 


She was covered in cornstarch and glitter, but we had a wonderful morning and she proudly showed her older sister what she had made later that day. 

To store the Fairy Cloud Dough, put it in sealed container. We like to leave a little piece, shaped like a nest, out on the window sill overnight to thank the Air Fey for carrying our burdens away. 

I hope that you will enjoy making some Fairy Cloud Dough of your own, and as always, I would love to hear about it!

Love,

Your Lady Star

Indoor Fairy Gardens: Honouring The Earth Fey in Cold Weather

Dear Fairy Friends,

In the last post with the short story of The Root Vegetable Babes, Children of the Earth, I started to touch on something greater. Earth Fey are around us all the time.They care for the grass, the soil, the very earth we walk on. I know that at this time of the year, when the bright greenery of the spring and summer start to turn golden and then are covered by the snow, we may get the false impression that the earth is sleeping and not paying attention to us. Yet the earth and the Fair Folk that tend to everything, from changing leaves to tucking hibernating animals into their winter beds, are always about and not at all turning a blind eye to us.

While it was much easier to let them know they were welcome in the summer by planting and tending to garden beds, putting fresh water in bird baths, admiring the beauty of the butterfly, it gets decidedly more difficult in cold weather. However, we tend to let a little bit of the wild into our home at Dragon Dell for all our Earth spirit visitors.

One of the things we do at this time of the year is to start an indoor Fairy Garden. In past years, these have been in large pots, so big the children could sit in them. This year, we have a crawling baby about to walk and I don’t believe that the Fey consider eating the garden we plant for them quite the compliment my son would think it is! In order to keep him and the garden safe, we have made a smaller one this year. It makes a lovely centrepiece on our kitchen table!

We found the perfect size of garden when we spotted the Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden Kit by Faber-Castell Creativity for Kids.  My daughters just celebrated birthdays and they chose this to spend some of their birthday treasure on, the retail cost was $39.99. Naturally, I agreed!


It is a lovely kit that comes with everything needed: decorations, paints, soil, pebbles for the pathway, stepping stones, seeds and my favourite: glitter! This glitter even had little stars in it.

The kit states that it is intedended for ages 7-97. This did make me laugh because I am well past 97 years old, having lived as a fairy most of my life! My children are aged 6 and 3, and they did an incredible job with my help.

I am very fond of mushrooms and I was delighted that they were in the kit. These are excellent additions to any Fairy Garden, whether you buy a kit or make one yourself. If you are ever walking in the woods and see a ring of mushrooms, you are actually looking at a Fairy Ring. It is best not to disturb these by picking the mushrooms or stepping into it. The Good Neighbours treat these spaces as scared and will often dance around the rings during festivals. Great misfortune may follow anyone who destroys or damages them! Please, I ask you to admire them from afar! That said, adding mushrooms to a Fairy Garden is a nod to their customs and one way in which to let them know that this space has been specially created for them.


This particular kit came with a charming house that appears to be made out of a flower. You can pick anything for a little home, it can be a painted milk carton, box you decorate, or of course, a store bought house. As long as you pick it with care for the Fey, they will appreciate it! Earth Fairies are partial to browns, greens, and they love flowers. You can use their favourite shades to inspire you and you can never go wrong with flowers.

We painted all of our pieces, making an afternoon of the activity on a rainy day.  We also painted the planter. You can absolutely do the same if you are using a clay pot, plastic container – really, almost anything! We dedicated our Fairy Garden to Earth Spirits on the grounds, so that even when we must be inside, so are they and they know we have not forgotten them.


We let the pieces dry while we took out Dragon Dell’s helpers (it is a VERY lose term in this case), Rosie and Ludo. They kept us quite busy and we let the pieces dry for a little over one hour.


With Rosie and Ludo fast asleep, we got to move on to adding the potting soil. We took out an antique tea pot to add a sense of ceremony to the occasion and moistened the soil. Once this was done, we planed the garden layout and put the house at the forefront. You may wish to create a little walkway to the home with pebbles, found stones, vibrant aquarium stones (that can be found at pet stores and places with pet supplies – ours came from Walmart in the past). Our kit supplied a very pretty shade of purple pebbles we used to create a walkway going two ways because, as my eldest daughter pointed out, in a fairy emergency there should be an alternate route.

Once the pieces of the garden were in place, we got to plant the seeds. The kit comes with so many seeds and recommended reserving some for future planting. I thought this was brilliant because you can stretch the life of your Fairy Garden out so that you have new growth all throughout the winter. We put aside both bean and wheatgrass seeds for future planting, buried some for now and then watered the seeds with the tea pot. Both bean and wheatgrass seeds are easy to find at local stores, we have even spotted them at our local Peavey Mart and Walmart. Garden centres will also have them as well as great advice on what kind of plants do well indoors. During past years, we went to Fern’s Greenhouse and have used gorgeous little succulents.

Lastly,  so as not to get them wet, we added the artificial flowers, the glittery butterflies and the fairy. We have found many pretty things to add over the years at the Dollar Store, The Dollar Tree, Michael’s and Walmart. Once you set your mind to making one of these gardens, I find you tend to see things you might like to add everywhere. I have also raided the basement and found bits of toys that we used, giving the toy a purpose and life once more and adding something unique to our arrangement. We were all holding our breath for the last thing we had to do: add some pixie dust! We opened the little vial, we each put some in our palms and made a wish with our eyes closed, our hands over our heart’s. I know many people think this is silly and will skip this step, but the Fey know which gardens grow wishes and which do not. It is also what turns any glitter into pixie dust; the wishes add the magic. This is why I always added wishes to our Fairy Gardens and pull these wishes up from the very depths of my heart.

In the end, we had a shimmery garden for our GoodNeighbours.

We enjoyed this birthday gift so much and watering the garden draws our attention daily to the earth, to caring for it, fostering its growth and nurturing it. I cannot wait to see the beginnings of new life when the sprouts start to push through the soil! I know the children will be so excited.

I would very much love to see any Fairy Gardens you have made, indoor or out, and any stories you might have that go with them!

Love,

Your Lady Star

.

Fairy Predators and How to Keep them Away

 

Dearest Fairy Friends,

Due to recent Disney films regarding fairies, there seems to be great concern that hawks eat fairies.

I am a fan of the Disney fairy films and I believe the lessons they impart demonstrate many of the valued virtues of The Gentry.

With that said, please do not hold any ill-will towards hawks. They do not eat fairies. Reactions to the notion that hawks fancy fairy feasts among the Fey that visit Dragon Dell have ranged between laughter and outright insult. I’ll explain.

While the Fair Folk are not immortal, they do live an exceptionally long lifespan and have many powers. There are different types of these beings and their abilities vary from type to type, yet they all possess strong magical abilities. For example, do you think an air fairy that can help the snows move across the globe would be afraid of a hawk? Not likely. I can guarantee you that birds of prey know very well that fairies are not appetizers.

This does however bring about the question whether or not other beings are a threat to the Good Neighbours. Yes. Sadly, we created them.

Beyond the Veil there exists a dark creature that can never be full. These creatures hunt the Fey because they are in constant agony, their hunger twisting their bellies. They may be cruel and bloodthirsty, but they do deserve our pity for their pain can never be alleviated. They were never given an official name by their creator, but among many of the Fey, they are called the Iron Hounds.

Their origin goes back many hundreds of years ago. There had been a wealthy man who had a fairy wife. He was unkind to her and when she became ill and lost the slightest bit of her youthful fairy beauty, he turned her out of his house and sought a new bride. The wealth had been a wedding gift and the moment the heartless man took a new wife, the fairy gold disappeared.  Vengeance filled the man’s heart even though he had brought his plight upon himself. He spent years cultivating knowledge on fairy lore and magic until he fancied himself a wizard. There was some truth to his claim and success in his dark sorcery. He poisoned every tree, one by one, in a small glade by nailing their roots with iron nails. Iron is one of the few metals that may harm the Gentry (and other magical creatures). The nails drove the woodland spirits out and in their place, the twisted wizard grew the essence of the Iron Hounds out of the sick and dying trees. The rotting, knotted and twisted trunks of these trees formed the bodies of the hounds. The sole purpose of these poor, sick and hungry beasts is to hunt and feast off the Fey. With every bite, their hunger deepens so that they can never ignore it, nor can they ever sate it.

Iron Hounds are much larger than worldly hounds, running on legs of twisted tree roots. Their eyes are empty except for dark pools. They are imbued with some very ugly magic and have the speed to hunt the nimble Fey. Their bodies often remain beyond the Veil while their essence takes on a ghostly hound form in our world. The body and essence must be one for the beings to be destroyed completely, putting the poor creatures out of the misery that they are cursed with.

Luckily, there are things that ward off the Iron Hounds. They are not rare nor enchanted objects, some of them can even be found at the grocery store!

Onions may look humble and we are used to chopping them up for soups, salads or fried in batter for a treat. However, the onion has a long history as a protective plant, dating back to ancient Egypt.

There are a few ways to use the onion. To guard against anything wicked entering your home, an onion with pins in it on the windowsill will do the trick. Alternately, you can place a cut onion in a room as a ward against malevolent beings. If you have onions in your garden, they will protect your house and property.

lilac

There are also certain flowers that the Iron Hounds will avoid at all costs. Flowers are healthy, happy flora and these creatures were breed out of sickness. They cannot stand certain flowers with protective properties. Lilac is such a plant. Dragon Dell is always bursting with lilac blooms when the weather is warm! If you have some lilac bushes around your home, Iron Hounds will not dare attempt to enter.

MMS

Another major deterrent for the hounds is lavender. Dragon Dell does not have access to wild lavender year-long, instead we have begun trying to grow some indoors. We also found Magic Monster Spray made by  The Green Goddess. Would you care to guess what one of the ingredients might be? The lavender floral water in the Magic Monster Spray is indeed magic! This spray is safe to use on pillows, stuffed animals that you might tuck into your bed with you, sheets and it also helps encourage our dreams to be soft and peaceful. We use it often since our discovery and since we are rather slow to grow our lavender (the cats of Dragon Dell take great delight in upsetting plants).

There is no way to undo the great evil that created the Iron Hounds. As much as I prefer to keep them away from Dragon Dell, since it would be like a fairy buffet for them, I do pity the poor things. In my search for ways to guard the Gentry from them, I have not come across a way to heal them nor to feed them so that they may rest. I hope to one day.

You can keep your fairies safe by placing an onion on your window sill, in your room overnight,  lilac bushes, dried lavender or Magic Monster Spray! Use whatever you may have at hand and rest assured, you can protect your friends. The power to do so is in your hands and maybe even your kitchen.

Love,

Your Lady Star

 

Fairy potions!

Dear Fairy Friends,

If you are looking for a little magic today, why not brew your own fairy potion? While magic may be a little rarer these days than it used to be, the ingredients you will need for this brew are most likely already in your home or very easy to find. This is one way to find magic in the everyday, even in your kitchen cupboards!

Potion ingredient
You will need these key ingredients to brew your potions

You will need to have:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Food dye
  • Sparkles
  • A jar, cup or mug
  • A pot or bowl
  • A magic wand, enchanted cauldron stick, spoon, spatula – something to stir with

At Dragon Dell, we like to set everything up so that the ingredients are ready for action!

The first step is to fill your jar, cup or mug half-way with white vinegar. This next step will save you a great deal of cleaning up: put your jar, cup or mug in a bigger pot or bowl. Now, the magic starts!

From a plain kitchen staple, the vinegar is about to become so much more! You add the food dye, whatever colour calls to you.  You can make pink if you are feeling glum and need a little bubbliness, red is wonderful if you are feeling inspired, blue will calm an anxious heart, green is great if you want to grow new friendships, purple is help you be true to yourself, orange is to chase away doubt for example.

IMG_5834.JPGMy favourite part comes right after you are happy with the colour of your potion. With this step, you enchant the ingredients: you add sparkles and make a wish with every colour you add.

Are you ready to see the potion brew? All you need to do is spoon baking soda in and stir! Don’t forget to activate your wishes here by saying “bubble, bubble, little wishes twinkle and double!”

It is so fun to watch the potion bubble over, releasing your wishes. You can then always add more sparkles and baking soda to keep the potion bubbling a little longer.

My daughters, Garnet and Minka, look forward to rainy days because that is when we practice potion making the most!

IMG_5880.JPG

Did you have fun making a fairy potion? Would you like to share with me what colour you made and why?

Have a wonderful day and may your wishes come true!

With love,

Your Lady Star