Tag Archives: outdoors

Magical Fairy Dust to Brighten your Days: A Fairy Garden, Part 3


Just like the first spring blooms that have craned their necks out a little later this year due to the lengthy winter we have endured here in Ontario, we are slowly doing the same and beginning to stretch out a bit once again and unfurl. The last nine months have been spent adjusting to life with a newborn again.

While caring for a newborn is the most intense and rewarding experience I have the pleasure to share with my family, it takes a toll on all of us as we try to get back to some semblance of normal.

Gardening with our three girls is one of the ways we connect to our surroundings and each other. Not surprisingly, it feels very ‘grounding’. Having the sun warm your back and children giggling by your side, while you dig, and prepare the soil and plant the seeds, is very comforting and therapeutic and somehow sets everything in perspective. Stick with the basics, hold on to those close to you, do the work, reap the rewards. The answers are all there in nature.

I had posted about how you can make your own fairy garden last spring: https://faymeling.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/magical-fairy-dust-to-brighten-your-days-a-fairy-garden-28/ and also here https://faymeling.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/magical-fairy-dust-to-brighten-your-days-a-fairy-garden-part-2/. My children were thrilled with the final product, but alas, by the time I had a camera in hand to take pictures of it, it was nearing the end of summer and our magical fairy garden (though still magical!) was no longer in its prime. This year, we’ve started fresh with a beautiful Gerbera daisy, a full white blossomed Dahlia and a lovely purple Salvia. Once the moss is in season we will plant some Irish and Scottish moss as well for a nice soft carpeting.

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Magical Fairy Dust to Brighten Your Days: A Fairy Garden, Part 2


We have been experiencing quite the heat wave here the last few weeks! School has finally let out and the girls are eager to start our summer vacation in the city.

For the most part, we’ve been keeping the schedule simple: a good breakfast, some water colour painting for J and R while I prepare the lunch we will bring with us on our outing, and then a visit to one of our local parks and wading pool/ splash pad. We go home early afternoon, run some errands and then have some down time to sleep, or do quiet activities or chores around the house. Late afternoon is usually reserved for gardening or sprinkler fun for the girls, then a bit of free play (these days it’s dress up and/ pretend grocery shopping) while I prepare dinner.

Speaking of gardening, we have finally set up our fairy garden. I mentioned in an earlier post back in February (when the weather fooled us into believing spring had begun and was there to stay!) that we had grand plans for a garden that the girls could call their very own, complete with their own garden fairies.

How to make a fairy garden:

Materials:
– nice dark topsoil or potting soil
– medium to large sized whiskey barrel/ planter/ container
– 2-3 small budded annuals/ perennials
– Scottish or Irish moss
– small vessel for water/pond
– some pebbles/ small rocks
– miniature figurines or DIY felt fairies/ gnomes etc.
– miniature furniture

Directions:
– together with your kids, sketch a plan of how you would like your fairy garden to look like. Include type and colour of flowers/plants, fairy house, pond, pathway, furniture, figurines, etc.
– choose a suitable location for the fairy garden where it will get enough sunlight and shade if necessary, as well as be easy for the children to play and for all of you to access with a watering can or hose.
– Make sure there is a hole at the bottom before you fill the barrel for proper drainage. For better water drainage and soil aeration you can also put a layer of gravel or small rocks on the bottom of planter as well.
– fill barrel/ planter up to 2/3 level with soil.
– plant chosen flowers/ plants/ moss according to your sketch.
– include the figurines and any other accessories.
– water and prune accordingly, play daily!

For more info please visit Donni Weber’s the Magic Onions blog:

http://themagiconions.blogspot.ca/

Donni has some great tips and even a fairy garden contest you can enter to win some great prizes!

We are also really quite taken with this amazing natural parenting and toystore that is run by a local mompreneur and friend: http://www.avasappletree.ca/

Ava’s Appletree has some really great products and was where we purchased our fairy house and fairy kit. You can easily create two beautiful felted fairies with the kit.  

Here are a few pictures of our little fairy garden so you can get an idea of how to make your own. Our fairy garden is of course still a work in progress but we are quite pleased with it so far!

Note: We now have a little house and a pond and pathway (will add photos of this in future) but alas I waited too long to take a picture of the completed project so the plants have overgrown somewhat and hidden the pathway and fairy house so some pruning needs to be done first!

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International May Day Celebrations Renewed


Well here we are. May 1st. Some exciting things are happening this month! While typically here in Canada we think of Mother’s Day and Victoria Day celebrations as the highlights of May, it seems that there has been a resurgence in the popularity of celebrating the very first day of this bright and cheerful month all over the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day

May Blossoms from the May tree. Photo Credit: ceridwen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Queen_of_the_May,_in_June_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1346819.jpg

May Day, also known as the Gaelic festival of Beltane (May 1st) and the German Walpurgis Night http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night (which is celebrated on the night of April 30 – and leads into May 1st),  is  typically observed in areas such as England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, France, and even Hawaii (where it is more commonly referred to as “Lei Day”).

Historically, May 1st was considered the first day of summer in some pre-Christian pagan cultures.  This day was celebrated in pre-Christian times as the festival of Flora in honour of the Roman Goddess of Flowers. Following the conversion of Europe to Christianity, many pagan celebrations were either dropped or given religious undertones. In Roman Catholic cultures, May is considered Mary’s month and May Day is usually celebrated as a tribute to the Virgin Mary. Flowers are used to adorn her head in a May Crowning represented in works of art such as plays, sculptures and figure drawings. 

For many other people, May Day is recognized as a secular tradition where spring and fertility is celebrated with events such as dancing around a Maypole decorated with colourful ribbons, and the crowning of the May Queen.  

Maypole in Munich, Germany http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viktualienmarkt_Maibaum_Nahaufnahme_1999.jpg

Queen Guinevre’s ‘Maying’ by John Collier. Photo credit: Andreas Praefke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Collier_Queen_Guinevre%27s_Maying.jpg

If you are looking to make your own May Pole check out this amazing blog on spring festival celebrations and Maypole ideas at Kleas: http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2011/05/spring-festival.html

DIY Maypoles with dyed silk ribbons. Photo credit: http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2011/05/spring-festival.html

Here are a few other great sites to visit for creating a Maypole and celebrating May Day with your children:

Maypole with Beads. Photo credit: www.gardeners.com

Maypole Nature Table. Photo credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Fresh flowers and Ribbon Maypole. Photo credit: http://stillraisingthenextgeneration.com

Stone-tipped Fairy Ribbon Wands. Photo credit: http://paintcutpaste.com

A sweet tradition in the past (that is likely to gain new momentum) was to prepare May Day baskets filled with flowers or treats, and to leave them anonymously on the front door steps of a neighbour or friend. For tips on how to make your own May Day basket, visit Ben Partridge’s excellent post on The May Day Basket Refresher at Apartment Therapy at http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/may-day-basket-refresher-how-t-118478

May Day Baskets. Photo credit: Ben Partridge http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/may-day-basket-refresher-how-t-118478

May 1st is also International Workers’ Day  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Workers%27_Day which was officially recognized in 1891 and celebrates the International Labour Movements and marks the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago and the subsequent 1894 May Day Riots in Cleveland, Ohio when people rioted against the ineffectual measures the city officials carried out to reduce the skyrocketing rates of unemployment at the time. While this day is officially reconized elsewhere, here in Canada and the United States, Labour Day is recognized on September 1st (a move that was favoured by the then governor of Ohio so as not to commemorate the riots).

Currently, there is a resurgence in the United States and elsewhere to celebrate this infamous day in the context of supporting the 99% of the population who are not as well off as the remaining 1%. This planned day of protest is fuelled by the Occupy Wall Street (and other Occupy movements around the world) .

So what will we be doing this May 1st? Since I’ll be at home with the girls, we will be celebrating this special day as a tribute to spring and all its glory. My litle ladies love dressing up in their most desirable princess gowns and dancing around the living room or out in the front yard. So we will likely be doing some dancing (as per usual!) Not sure if we’ll have a little May Pole set up to dance around…although we could make a makeshift May Pole using our beautiful white hobby horse which would also double as a perfect companion to my two lovely little May Queens.

And perhaps a flower garland for their hair, or pansy flowers pressed into shortbread cookies in a basket would be a welcome activity to add to our day.

For a great shortbread recipe with pressed flowers to celebrate spring, here’s a great article on Stonegable: http://stonegable.blogspot.ca/2010/05/pansy-shortbread-cookies.html

Pansy shortbread cookies. Photo credit: http://stonegable.blogspot.com

Here’s to a very Happy May Day and a great start to your month! What does the month of May mean to you? Will you do anything special this May Day? Please share your thoughts.