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

Pond Pixie Slime: Making Loyalty, Generosity & Laughter “Stick”

Dear Fairy Friends,

It has rained on and off here, as it does during this time of year. With the rain comes very sticky mud on the grounds of our home, Dragon Dell Cottage. We have often lifted a foot only to realize that our boot was still in the mud!

The puddles and mud were on my mind as I thought about some of the fairy bogs across The Veil, in the land of the Fey. They are not all dark and gloomy. Some of them have vibrantly coloured slime and the Pond Pixes, a special type of Water Fey that make this slime, enjoy playing with it. They marvel at the stickiness, make batches just to improve elasticity and, in a pinch, have made some for spiders out of thread for their webs. 

At the cottage, I have been struggling with some sibling discord amongst my children. I know that this is very normal, yet I remain a little perplexed regardless having been a fairy most of my life! 

We have been working on Loyalty, as opportunity often sways my eldest, and she ends up regretting her decisions afterwards. When we know we have not been Loyal, it can pain the heart, yet loyalty is a subject of depth as there are such a things as blind loyalty and betraying yourself for others. With my middle child, we have been discussing Generosity. The Fey do not like stinginess and I am trying to show her how sharing and giving can be a joy.  Lastly, I am on working on myself! Trying to diffuse situations acting as cranky as a badger just adds fuel to the fire. I am learning to replace being cross with Laughter. My youngest is my greatest teacher in this art!

I decided to use Pixie Pond Slime to make these ideas “stick” rather than a stern lecture to discuss Loyalty, Generosity and Laughter.

To make your own Pixie Pond Slime, you will need:

  1. One 5 oz bottle of clear Elmer’s Clear Glue 
  2. Glitter
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon of contact lens solution
  4. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  5. A spatula
  6. A mixing bowl 

Pond Pixie Slime ingredients

To make the slime, empty the entire bottle of glue into your mixing bowl. Mix in some glitter! It is the best part! We don’t measure, but I would venture to say a couple of teaspoons at least! We put quite a lot to make the slime very sparkly. Next, add your contact lens solution and baking soda.

It will be very, very gloopy at first. If you knead it, it becomes less stringy and as you work with it in the open air, it dries a little and becomes more glob-like. 

I prepared 3 batches in 3 different colours and scooped every last sticky string in mason jars with lids. If left out, the slime will dry. I labelled them, one for each of us: Loyalty was blue, Generosity was purple and Laughter was pink.

Lesson made to stick in a jar!

I picked up my eldest daughter from school and she was delighted by the sparkly jars I had prepared with her sister and brother.

Purple for Generosity
Blue for Loyalty

The children and I talked as we played and they even shared without any prompting. They took out ice cube trays and made fairy cakes for the Pond Pixies. They twirled, rolled, stretched and squished the Pond Pixie Slime for over an hour!

Pond Pixie Slime!

I recommend using plastic mats to play on. The slime is easiest to pick up using more slime, as it sticks together. It can be peeled off of mixing bowls and spatulas too, if you clean it up before it dries. If it does happened to dry, the glue is washable and a good soak will do the trick. I hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to know what names you gave your slime! What did you learn?

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

Bent Wings and Pigeon-Toes: A Clumsy Tale of True Beauty 

Dear Fairy Friends,

Growing up Fey, I was surrounded by beauty. I however did not see any of that beauty in myself when I looked at my reflection in the Stargazer’s Pond. You can only look into it on a night full of starlight, which will show you truth in the waters. It is used to look into your world, to see ourselves as we are and to envision ourselves as we will be in the future. The waters of this pond are perfectly still, even the frogs dare not splash in it. When I looked into the pond, I never saw beauty.  In fact, I saw nothing at all, not even the stars reflected. Just the dark, glassy, breathless waters. There was something about the pond that I didn’t know, but I will come to that a little later in this tale. 

There was something about me that made me stand apart when all I wished for was to blend in. I was born rather pigeon-toed, which was already unusual for one of my kind. To add insult to injury, my wings had an odd arc to them, they were bent forward at the tips. 

Pigeon-toe woes

Therefore, I was clumsy on my feet, as well as in the air. No one invited me to chase shooting stars with them, nor did they ask for my help painting rainbows because my flying made me paint crazed, crooked stripes through the sky. Only the naive dared to partner with me during the celebratory dances in the Fairy Rings. It only took one turn around for them to realize that I would trip them, sending us careening into the mushrooms that formed the circle more often than not. Let me tell you, flinging others into mushrooms is not the best way to make friends!

I walked carefully, doing my best to keep my feet straight. It was agonizing. I tried to keep my wing tips pointed up only to feel them ache as well. If I managed one, I neglected the other because the effort and pain were too great. The looks that I got from the other Fey stung me deeply and made my heart ache, just as my body ached trying to look less…like myself. 

Velocity seemed to aggravate my clumsiness so I went gently, slowly and tried to help my wayward feet. As I walked, I began to notice things I never had before and I was drawn to the incredible plants that surrounded me. I was fascinated and stopped often to ask creatures, great and small, what they knew about the plants they drank from, took shelter in or ate for nourishment. 

I learned from the bees and hummingbirds which flowers were the sweetest. The bears explained which berries they would eat and which were poison for them. The caterpillars demonstrated how they would blend into foliage to camouflage themselves. Being so still, I demonstrated enough patience that elves and dwarves approached me and I was able to learn from them as well. It isn’t easy and their lessons are lengthy. Elves, being immortal, really have no regard for time. Dwarves, having been born from the oldest stones on the earth, share knowledge about as speedily as the mountains shift.  I even came upon a dragon with gems wedged between her scales that had begun to cut into her skin. I healed her and altered her lair so that the sharpest treasures would not dig into her hide again. To thank me, she showed me how the different phases of the moon could enchant and enhance the healing or harming properties of plants. This is highly guarded knowledge because of its duality – it can lengthen lives or end them – and is not to be taken lightly. 

I had been so absorbed in plant lore that I had walked with my crooked feet in front of all of these beings: the most enlightened, the eldest, the most magical. Not the birds, nor the elves, dwarves, or the dragon seemed repelled by my inherent clumsiness of foot or wing. It was when I forgot to care and worry about my feet and wings that I found great purpose in healing and protecting. It was then that I was gifted with my true name, Angelica, after the plant I had the greatest affinity with. 

My feet hardly straightened by the time I reached maturity at 100 years old. Now well past my early adulthood, my feet are as crooked as ever, the bend in my wings still prominent. 

The same feet that once made me painfully aware that I was different were quite clever in the end, slowing me down enough to find my calling. The wings that keep me grounded could easily shield plants and animals and were ideal for collecting herbs. Being made differently, from a slightly askew magic perhaps, had given me great gifts. 

With age and perspective, I have come to appreciate that there is no such thing as perfection within my kind, my world nor yours. Instead of striving to fit in, for this elusive notion of how we ought to be, let us just be, as we were intended to be from the moment when we were created. 

Every child has a place in the fantastic

I see children made from all kinds of wonderful, who feel they are never represented in the realm of the fantastic. I am so grateful that I found artist Carolyn Gerk of Velvet Hand Designs who has helped me bring to life some of the different types of Fey, just as they are. All children should have access to the realms of wonder and magic, I hope to add more diversity in the future to the collection. It is important to me because only by believing that I had a place, that I was special, was I able to finally see beauty in myself when I looked into the pond. That is the great secret: you must believe in yourself first to see who you are and decide who you want to become. 

Love every quirk!

May we celebrate crooked feet, bent wings and everything in between. I already believe in you. Believe and look at yourself as you truly are for the first time. You are breathtaking. 

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

The Root Vegetable Babes, Children of the Earth

Dear Fairy Friends,

As the seasons begin to shift (in Canada anyway!), and the flowers tuck themselves into their beds, we sometimes pay less attention to the earth as it is quitter after Fall harvests and hushed at the onset of winter. It is still there however and still in tune with the beings that walk it, burrow in it, hibernate and store their energies for a new season.

Come closer, I would like to tell you the strange and wonderful tale of The Root Vegetable Babes, Children of the Earth.

There was once a couple who wished for a child. Their farm had turned into a wasteland of weeds, they had no livestock and the shingles on the roof were a patchwork of disaster held together by sheer luck. The couple was not lazy, as one might assume. They were merely always so caught up in their thoughts that the everyday and the earth calling for their aid escaped them.

The husband had the brain of an innovator, and although he meant wholeheartedly to weed the garden beds, he got lost in sketches of contraptions he wished to build that could weed a garden at twice the speed of a person.

The wife spent her days burning her baking in the oven and forgetting the soup hung up by the fire as she created the most spectacular patterns for children’s garments. Nothing like her creations were to be seen in all the land. She sacrificed pieces of their best clothing, her wedding dress and his wedding clothes, to bring some of these pieces to life. She absentmindedly salted the cake and sugared the vegetables between her stitches, dreaming of dressing her own children in the clothes.

One night, as the wife swept cobwebs from her bedroom window, she opened the shutters to let the cool air blow away the dust that had gathered as well. She looked up at the round, rosy moon. It seemed so quiet then, as if there very air were listening. She looked up and whispered “I promise, I would nurture any child I would be blessed to have. I promise.”

The wind picked up suddenly and with such vigour that it slammed the shutters, narrowly missing the wistful wife’s finger tips as she yanked them off of the sill.

She fell into a deep sleep, the first in a long time that did not tease and torment her heart with dreams of her own children. In the morning, nothing – not the neighbour’s rooster, nor her husband’s gentle nudging nor the sun warming her skin – woke her. Her slumber was finally broken by a knock at the door.

Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she was startled to see it was already late morning. Hurriedly, she slipped on her dressing gown and slippers and opened the door.

On the doorstep, there stood a stranger. The stranger was a woman with a slightly bent back, smelling as though her clothing had been through many rains and had travelled many roads. Her hair was long and strewn with love knots. Her lined face was aged but there was such a loveliness to her large, brown eyes. She carried a frayed basket covered in a travel-worn handkerchief that must have been quite handsome once.

Not one to be rude, the wife said to the woman “good morning, is there anything I can help you with?”

The woman smiled, showing a mouth full of white, pearly teeth. She replied in a cracked voice “would you have room in your home for a little one?” As she said this, she nodded towards the basket.

The wife could not believe it! She said right away “oh yes, yes I do!”

The woman began to lift the handkerchief and the wife strained to see the baby that must be in the basket. A large rutabaga in a bonnet was cushioned within.

The wife did not know if she should laugh or cry at this cruel joke. She was about to tell the woman that this jest was unkind to a childless wife, but the wind rustled the leaves outside and shook the door slightly. The woman remembered her promise the night before and resolved to take the rutabaga in. The woman went away.

rutabaga.jpg

Her husband laughed but the wife took the rutabaga in the bonnet and made it a small cradle out of a drawer. She lay one of her exquisite baby gowns over the root, making the rutabaga appear to be the head and the gown the body. During the day, she moved the cradle to the kitchen where she worked. As she spoke to the root vegetable, practicing what she would say to a real child, she began to be more present. The bread was not burnt that week.

The next week, the woman appeared once more as loaves were coming out of the oven. The wife invited her in and broke bread with her. The woman saw the rutabaga tucked into the cradle and asked once more “would you have room in your home for a little one?”

The wife saw the fire in the hearth flicker as the wind picked up outside. She remembered her promise and was tucking in two babies that night, the rutabaga and a large, heart-shaped potato.

potatoe

Her husband shook his head and laughed again but figured the root vegetables were doing his wife some good as that week she baked the most delicious bread and cakes he had ever eaten. She was able to sell some in the village and they were able, after 2 weeks, to buy laying hens.

To make the grounds habitable for the hens, the husband had to prepare a coop and weed some of the gardens.

Three weeks after the heart-shaped potato made it’s home with the couple, the woman appeared once more. Once thy were finished their meal, the woman asked “would you have room in your home for a little one?”

A branch from outside beat against the shutters in the kitchen. The woman remembered her promise and this time, dressed a little parsnip as a babe.

parsnip.jpg

Her husband found this oddly endearing and did not mock his wife for that week, her baking was heavenly, her soups divine, new pieces were sewn and the home felt warmer.

Her baby clothes were admired by the wealthy and they soon commissioned the wife to make some for their children. The husband had enough money to make his weeding invention and soon, their farm was one of the most well-tended. They now had a goat for cheese making and a cow for milk and a couple of pigs for meat.

Four weeks later, the woman returned.  She stayed the night and the wife washed the rain and road dust from the woman’s clothing.The wife served her freshly scrambled eggs on hot bread.  She was treated to milk, goat cheese, bacon, soup, and cakes. When she had eaten her fill, the woman asked a different question “what names have you given the children?”

After so many weeks of talking to the vegetables, it was odd but the wife had come to believe that they each had different personalities and had, in fact, named them. She brought the cradle over, stuffed full now with the rutabaga, the heart-shaped potato and the parsnip. The woman saw that they were each beautifully clothed, freshly scrubbed and covered in warm blankets. The rutabaga and parsnip in boy’s clothing and the heart-shaped potato in a little gown for a girl. The wife pointed to the rutabaga and said “this is Rupert”. Next she pointed to the heart-shaped potato and said “this is Faith”. Lastly, she pointed to the turnip and said “This is Peter”.

The woman smiled and the wind picked up once more, but this time blowing open the door, blowing out the fire and shaking the shutters in their posts. In a glimmer, the woman shifted shapes into a short, stout, lovely woman with skin the colour of an acorn yet the same beautiful brown eyes were the same. She waved her hand over the cradle and the sound of babies laughing filled the room. The wife was astonished and saw there were three babes much too big to fit comfortably in the cradle, wearing the clothing she had dressed the vegetables in. The woman had vanished, the fire came to life once more.

She never knocked on the door again.

That night, the woman gave thanks in the light of the moon as three babes slept in their bed. By respecting the earth, caring for the grounds, the livestock, the woman at her door and the root vegetables, the couple had shown themselves worthy to provide a home for the Children of the Earth.The farm was never neglected again and the children kept the prosperous couple very busy!