Fairy Spotting: A Guide

Dear Fairy Friends,

The weather has been gorgeous at Dragon Dell. The leaves are turning lovely golden tones, glinting in the Fall sunlight. It is a time for harvests, for enjoying the world before winter settles in. It is my favourite time of the year, leading up to Samhain – many humans call it Halloween.

Fairies are out in full force, more and more as October 31st approaches. It is a very busy time of the year and the peak for fairy activity!

I’ve had a few children very sadly write to me that they have not seen a fairy. I believe this may be because many people expect a full-bodied, glittery, clear apparition. In reality, you probably have seen a fairy and didn’t realize it!

For example, do you have a cat or dog? We have both, as well as ferrets. Have you ever noticed them paying attention to something that did not make sense? Cats will often stare at or chase invisible things, dogs will suddenly go sit and stare at a wall, ferrets will run off after something (they are a poor example because they are always doing this anyway!). Often, this is a sign that there is fairy activity in the house!

For instance, I will be doing dishes in the kitchen and notice something flit outside, only to take a better look and see nothing at all. Things moving out of the corner of your eye or subtle shifts you can’t be sure you saw are often fairies.

If you would like to be more attuned to fairy sightings in your home, garden and in the wild, the book Fairies, A Spotter’s Handbook by Alison Maloney, illustrated by Patricia Moffet, is an excellent guide for children and adults interested in starting to build  up their fairy lore.

Unlike some other fairy books for children and youth, this handbook is not too sugary-sweet that you develop a toothache while reading it. Having once been Fey myself, I appreciate that it points out that there are both good and bad fairies. These terms are very stiff and often, a benevolent fairy might behave in a manner we might classify as bad or evil. However, we often forget that our concepts of good and bad have no meaning to the Good Neighbours. I am fond of this book because it touches on this lightly, but does not paint all Fey in a shiny, squeaky clean light.

Having read the majority of the book that discusses Queen Titania, the ruler of Faerie, her court, the different types of fairies, my daughters were eager to test the handbook in the great outdoors.

Taking the handbook out with us for some spotting!

We had with us mason jars for collecting and the guide. I need to be very clear about one thing when venturing out to look for fairies: please, never, ever try to jar them! I am pretty sure most of us would not like to be contained in a sealed jar, even with holes poked in the lid. I can assure you, neither do fairies. There are dire consequences for all who try to trap fairies and Fairy Hunters are one of our greatest fears at Dragon Dell. This is strictly a guide too spotting, not hunting! Great things to have with you would be a container to collect things in, a magnifying glass, a little cup and some milk, honey or cake. Keep an open mind and an open heart!

Collecting

If you have a garden, look under shrubs or bushes, you may find some fairy clues there. A tidy pile of leaves, for example, may have been a fairy bed.

Other signs of fairy visits include toadstool rings or a circular area of flattened grass. Rings of toadstools are Fairy Rings and these are sacred ritual and celebratory spaces for The Gentry. They must not be destroyed or you will have bad luck! Flattened grass in an open area where there are no tracks and the grass surrounding it is upright is another sign that there has been a fairy celebration!

You will also want to examine trees in your yard. All trees have fairy spirits inhabiting them and you just need to look for signs! We have a crab apple tree that we often find little piles of twigs under. This is a sign of a fairy dwelling.

Looking under our special crab tree

If you are in the woods and spot bluebells, foxglove, lavender, snowdrops or forget-me-nots, these plants are irresistible to the Fair Folk and you can wager that they are around.

We collect things we find such as feathers, acorns, fallen leaves. These we keep and make little beds out of in the garden before we go in, to let the fairies know they are welcome and will be during the cold months. Our hearth is fairy-friendly! I appreciate very much that Fairies, A Spotter’s Handbook offers the reader protection against the wrong sort of fairy making themselves feeling welcome. The book recommends putting springs of either rosemary of thyme near the front door and offers this spell to bless the home:

We’ve rosemary, thyme and sweet-smelling flowers,

Good fairies can enjoy,

To this clear house we call ours,

Bring love, peace and joy. 

It is very important when forming friendships with fairies to do something like this, to make your invitation very clear. This is where I want to note that just as we wish to come to no harm in our household, when you are out in theirs, do not harm or destroy things. When collecting items in your jar, please do not break off branches, petals, trap bugs nor harm any animals. These are very serious offences and the equivalent of someone entering your home and smashing your furniture and throwing everything around. Littering is also a great offence so if you bring snacks, please remember to tidy up after.


Lastly,  if you wish to show good faith to the Fey, leave them a small offering of milk, honey or cake. This can also be placed in the kitchen window, it is a great treat for the Fey and they will be very pleased.  We may have experienced some Fey tampering with our picture above, no matter what angle we took the picture from, the little friendship bowl we filled with milk would not photograph clearly!

I hope that this helps give you hope going forward, looking for signs of magic and open your eyes to fairy sightings you might already have encountered!

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

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Monthly Fairy Correspondence

 

Dear fairy friends,

I feel so grateful for the honour of being the Guardian of Dragon Dell. I am thrilled to answer fairy questions if you head to my Facebook page – Lady Starling’s Fairy Lore – or ask me questions in the comments section of this blog. To maintain the grounds and do things for my children, Garnet, Minka and Sparrow, I have had to accept human currency and have set up a monthly pledge page via Patreon. Here you can sign up for monthly letters from your fairy.

This blog will remain free, full of fairy crafts, stories, your questions and my answers! Always.

To help me bring a little extra magic into people’s lives, I have been very fortunate and met a fantastic artist who never lost her ability to believe. Her name is Carolyn Gerk of Velvet Hand Designs and she has captured for me the 6 fairy types that exist beyond the veil. There is a little sneak preview above of the type of information the fairy cards contain that I have created with her art. Monthly fairy letter subscribers will be given a fairy card with their fairy’s name and type on it as well as an additional fairy card the first month. Each fairy card includes a fairy friendship lesson.

After all 6 fairies are collected in the first 5 months, we will move on to the 7 Fairy Virtues for the next 7 months. Each virtue also comes with a collectible card  with Carolyn’s art and inspirations on how to practice these virtues. There are 13 cards to collect in all over the course of 12 months.

I am so excited about the fairy door packages we have as well. These are made from wood found at Northbase Ranch, a local spot known for it’s healing powers and beauty. They are hand painted by myself, with pixie dust embellishments added by my children.

Fairy Door

I handwrite the letters as they are dictated to me by your fairy as they go back and forth between your home, Dragon Dell and beyond the veil.

I am so grateful for all support of our work here at Dragon Dell! Not even all the pixie dust in the world would be a great enough thank you, however I do add a little in each letter!

If you would like a fairy starter kit, please pledge that option for your first month and then edit your pledge in the second month to the monthly letter. I apologize for making it a little complex, but I do like that you have PayPal protection this way! You can sign up for the letters via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ladystarling

Whether monthly magic is for you or you prefer this blog or my Facebook page, I am so honoured to have you with me.

Love your Lady Star

 

 

Fairy friendly practices: Hospitality

A question I often receive as a Guardian and messenger for the Fair Folk is how to make them feel welcome in your home.

There are 7 basic fairy friendly practices you can work on daily to make them consider visiting you often. I will share all 7, I promise! For today, we will talk about the first one. It is, quite naturally if you would like visitors magical or not, Hospitality.

What does it mean to practice Hospitality? In general, it means being a kind, considerate and generous host when you have people over. It is making friends feel welcome in your home.

Last time you had friends over, how did you make them feel welcome? It may have been by serving their favourite meal, sharing a toy, secret, game or even offering them the last piece of dessert!

For our Good Neighbours, they don’t need a party invitation to let them know that they may find food or shelter in your home. Simply leaving out a token of friendship such as a flower, your favourite book, a note or anything you might find inviting. You can make them a special corner on a book shelf or bed out of a decorated shoe box, you simply need some place special designated for them. Some people even put up fairy doors (and we will have some soon if you would like one of ours), but anything handmade is just as wonderful. My children folded gorgeous old handkerchiefs and set a place for their fairies on their nightstands. It is the thoughtfulness that matters most of all. Fairies love fine, pretty things so even a bit of cloth you find attractive will do in a pinch! Q-Tip boxes also work wonders and have the extra bonus of a convertible roof! Recently, we have taken to using little nests found at craft shops and making soft moss blankets for our friends. You will get a “feel” for your visitors and know what they prefer!

Nest
Blanket of moss

Once you have decided to make them welcome and given them a place of their own, you must not forget to offer them food and drink! You can leave them little bits of honey, cookies, even candy. The enjoy drinking tea, juice, I’ve even know a few who love a little bit of milk left over from cereal. Please, always ask the other people you live with if they mind and tell them where you are leaving fairy foods! I’ve stepped in a small offering of honey before and I had rather sticky feet for the day!

I’ll share with you a special fairy secret. They are absolutely overjoyed when they find a special bow, called a quaich. These are bowls with two handles, so that friends may share it, so it can also be called a friendship bowl. They are very easy to make! You can make them out of clay, we make them out of salt dough. Here is the recipe:

Salt dough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Mix together the salt and flour. Stir in the water slowly, until you get a nice dough out of the mixture. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Then you can shape it! Creations made with salt dough can air dry, or you can bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours.

Once you have made your friendship bowls and they are dry, you get to make them into works of art. We use acrylic paint and varnish for a lasting finish but we have used all kinds of paints! Use what you have, just be careful with watercolors that they do not turn your bowl into mush! Here are some we have made, they can be as simple as you like or as ornate.

Put the friendship bowl in your fairy friendly area and add things you think they may enjoy! Beads, a small note folded up, feathers, glitter, a beautiful rock you picked. They will be delighted that you are thinking of them!

Work on your Hospitality skills and you will soon have flocks of the Gentry wanting to come and visit your home!

I hope you enjoyed this piece on Hospitality and would love to hear about your experiences! You can always email Lady Star at ladyangelicastarling@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at Lady Starling’s Fairy Lore

May your hearts be full of everyday magic!

Love,

Your Lady Star