Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Nature of Faeries.

There has always been a strong affiliation between faeries and nature. Most of the images you see of faeries are in an outdoor setting, dressed in leaves and flowers and closely connected to animals. They made their homes in the trees and plants and use found objects in their homes. There are many tales depicting faeries as guardians of nature, or spirits that are derived from elements and things found in nature.

This information is beneficial when being a Faerie Godmother. Not only will it help to inspire you, but it will help to get a basis for many things creative. The organic world is full of mystery, secret wonders and tales waiting to be told.

When I have read or heard many of my favorite artists speak, when asked how they get their inspiration, they talk often and fondly of taking walks in the woods and re-communing with nature. I know myself I feel better and energized creatively when I am outdoors. It opens up your imagination and allows your mind to wander.

With Spring now here, the weather is warming up and things are coming back to life (at least for those of us in colder regions). This is a perfect time to get outside and watch how things grow. It is also a great time to take your faerie godchildren outside for walks and make stories together while exploring. Once I told my nephew that every time the wind blew it was the trees were talking to each other. It started a dialog of storytelling between the two of us about what they could they possibly talking about. 

Gardening is also a great way to be a Faerie Godmother in so many ways. It allows you to create gardening projects with your children and spend time playing in the dirt. Creating "Faerie Friendly Gardens" with plenty of colorful flowers (Pansies are always a favorite of mine) and trinkets, statues, baubles, found objects or any type of faerie attraction goodies you can think of. Your faerie garden would also be a great place to have tea..:). It is only limited to your imagination

With all of the talk of "going green" and environmentalism introducing children to nature is not only a great creative exercise, but it helps to teach them about the environment and get them in touch with nature at an early age. Watching seeds become flowers is slow but fun to watch. I know I still love watching something I started from seed bloom and become a full blown plant. A garden is a nice ongoing project to start and continue as the season progresses. If you are unable to get a plot of land to garden in, a few pots of flowers is always a good idea as well, and less time consuming. Besides.. what kid does not like to play in the dirt?

Go get outside!!! See you all next time, and in the meantime, keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The importance of storytelling.

Storytelling is as old as time itself. Before the written word there was the spoken word. Every culture in history have their legends, and passed those legends down through the generations via storytelling. Some people say it was the birth of religion.

Storytelling is not only the oldest form of art, but it is one of the most valuable. Telling stories to children helps not only to bond with kids, but it helps them to develop their imagination. It also helps to develop performance skills, verbal communication abilities and can improve vocabulary. It is said that some of the best writers are first and foremost storytellers. 
It is also a great way to learn about your heritage and regain a knowledge about your culture. As I mentioned before every culture in the world has a story to tell, and legends they have passed down. Taking a trip to your local library or taking a surf on the internet you will be able to find many tales of folklore from your cultural ancestors. I personally have ancestors from many countries, but primarily from Ireland with a smattering of Native American (Cherokee). Researching the legends of my ancestors not only helped me to gain a sense of understanding of the cultures itself but helped me to find a little piece of myself. 

Looking into the legends of the past also helps you to get a feel for your own storytelling. If you have no idea where to start when it comes to storytelling, this would be a great place to start, and a great way to bond with your children. 

So you want to get into storytelling but have no idea where to start? It is really consisting of 2 parts: Public Speaking/ Reading and Imagination. It can be difficult for people who aren't accustomed to telling a story in this fashion. But storytelling, like most creative things, is like a muscle; it needs to be worked and exercised. Your local library or book store may have storytelling time for children. If not, suggest one! There are also storytelling clubs in a lot of areas, and if you can't find one, again why not start one!

The hardest part of storytelling is losing the wall we all have to be proper and lose that performance inhibition. To be silly and childlike is socially frowned upon so we tend to avoid it. Public Speaking is one of the biggest fears we have, so getting over that is difficult.

A few things can help. The first is working with familiar children, and reading books and stories to them is a key and important way to familiarize yourself. I know with me personally I tend to allow myself to be silly when I am around kids. Talking nonsense back and forth and engaging with them is a good for unblocking my creative side. Reading your favorite books out loud to kid also helps. It allows you to get ideas, to set tone and work on speaking in public and learn to create different character voices. Not to mention, reading to children out loud gets them interested in books and improves literacy.

Another thing is recalling a story from your past and retell it. It could be anything from a vacation experience to a trip to the super market. This helps to develop the timing of a story, as well as Starts working the memory and the creative muscle. Throw in an embellishment here or there and see where it takes you. 

For me, keeping a notebook is one of the most important things I can do. I will say it over and over again. You never know when inspiration is going to hit, so having something to jot an idea or two down to revisit later is such a great tool.

Great websites for storytelling Resources can be found HERE and HERE. If you have tips, resources or storytelling ideas, please share them in the comments (either here or on the Facebook Page)

Many Thanks to my storytelling buddy Alastair for helping me out with some of the resources and inspiring this entry..:) 

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week and remember to always keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Word "Wish"

The word wish is a powerful one, more so than I think any other word I know. It represents a want, a need, a desire, a dream. Something you hope for or something you don't. To me, the word itself can run the gamut from the mundane (I wish I had a cheese sandwich) to wishing for the extraordinary and the magical.

Making wishes gives us all, the very  young to the very old, the ability to not give up dreaming.It gives us the drive to hope for something more and to strive for it. Making wishes, dreaming and allowing yourself to imagine are not only crucial for allowing to hope but it allows us to strive for better things. 

There are many resources out there that discuss the power of visualization and writing down goals in order to help aspire them. The same can be said for wishes. While I am sure people expect the literal definition of their wants come to fruition, that is not always the case. Not everything is cut an dry, literal and realistic in that fashion. Sometimes the results are more abstract. However, the results are not the true end goal. Allowing yourself to have thoughts and feelings of wanting more, to make extraordinary wishes and allowing yourself to dream. 

Go out and pick yourself a blank journal, sketchbook, notebook, scrapbook etc. You can do this either alone, with kids or both! Fill the books with things that inspire you, things  you love. It can be pictures, words, drawings whatever your heart desires. Keeping your inspirations close helps to keep you inspired. You can also use it to write down or even illustrate your wishes. It is always a good idea when you are feeling down or just want to look back to go back to the journal. It shows you where you've been, where you are going and helps you to refocus when you have gone through a rough time. It is a wonderful project to do with kids. Going through magazines finding pictures they like, or even going out and taking pictures of nature and things of wonder and beauty with them. They can also use this as a place to write down dreams and wishes or draw them out.

It is also vitally important to allow children to dream. Too often we put limitations on them; limits defined by society and values of our predecessors. Also in this day and age kids are overstimulated.. TV, Video Games, and an overabundance of toys really deter a childs imagination rather than stimulate it. This to me is sad, because some of our best ideas and inspiration come from an abundance of imagination. Do I think children should be cut off from TV and Video games? Absolutely not; but I do think that too often we don't nurture their creativity. You will be amazed when you look back on the book and see all of the wonders you have created!

See you all next time, and in the meantime, keep wishing and keep dreaming!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Faerie Holidays

I love Holidays, and not just the present giving kind. I love the idea of taking a day and making something unique and special about it. Too often these days Holidays and celebrations have become these mass marketed machines created by greeting card companies and big business. While I love walking around stores during  Christmas season just for ambiance, the holidays themselves have really lost their magic for me. 

I try to take current popular holidays and make them my own. Adding something a little more special and unique into the mix. On Halloween I like to do "The Great Pumpkin" with my nephews; I get them to carve pumpkins and if the Great Pumpkin likes their work they are rewarded Halloween  morning with little treats inside the pumpkin. Not only does this give us time to spend together to do something fun and creative, but it is fun for me because I get to play my version of Santa to them. 

Every year pretty much without fail for 7 years or so, I purchased a Brian Froud artwork calendar of some sort. Hands down he is one of my favorite artists but also along with the traditional holidays, he lists some "Faerie Holidays" which I do my best to observe. Some examples of these holidays include:

January 2nd: Snowflake Matching day (also known as Fairy frustration day)
January 11th: All Mornings Eve: Breakfast is eaten at Midnight and Midnight snack is eaten at breakfast.
Febuary 10th: Elbow kissing day. A very difficult assignment so dome faeries chat and kiss each others elbows.
March 30th: Balderdash Day: Ridiculous games are played and all bald fairies run about without their moss and braken wigs.

You get the idea. 

Making up your own holidays is  your assignment for this post. Create your own Faerie type holidays. You can leave little notes on the day of the holiday describing its purpose (or lack thereof) in your tree mail box, or you can simply share with the children and people around you. 

One example I have personally and I celebrate to this day is Saint Edwards day, named after Edward Scissorhands. This was the brainchild of my friends Cindy and Tara. on the first snow of the season you run about outside in the snow. Simple, effective, and no hallmark card needed. 

I am going to attempt to sit down within the next week or two and list all of the Holidays on the Froud Faerie Calendar. Hopefully it will help inspire you. I would also like to find a nice public calendar type page where I can help to list all of the holiday ideas you come up with.

See you all next week, and in the meantime, keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Craft Project 1: Tree Mail!

I thought it was about high time I post an actual craft project. This is for a hanging container for notes, trinkets or just about any kind of Faerie messages you want to pass on. I like to call it the tree mail box.

Supplies include:

  • A clear container (I used an Archer Farms butter crunch cashews from Target, because they are just darn tasty). It is plastic so it is light weight and non breakable. 
  • Glue or some form of adhesive. Depending on your situation there are a multitude of adhesives out there. If you are going to do this with kids you may want to look for non toxic or tacky glue. You can also use Hot Glue (if you are doing this on your own) or Fabric glue (this contains acitate so if you have a manicure you may want to avoid it). If this is an outdoor tree mail, you may want to use something more weather resistant like the fabric glue or the hot glue, and it works well with plastics.
  • Ribbon of all sorts. For mine, I used some organdy ribbon and thin satin ribbon.
  • Fake leaves, silk flowers, feathers, beads, bells or whatever tickles your fancy.

Step 1: I took a strip of the organdy ribbon just slightly longer than the circumference of your container. Of your satin ribbon cut 7 24 inch strips.Fold the satin ribbon half way and knot them equally and evenly on your organdy ribbon. 

 Step 2: Take 2 strips of ribbon from 2 knots and tie them together. this will create a V shape. Continue this with the other 7 knots.You may want to put a dab of glue on each knot not only to keep them in place and to attach them to the container.

Step 3: Create a new row with the ribbon, knotting the ribbon with its mate from the knot. You should get a basic diamond shame and should look like this when you are done.

Step 4: With the remaining ribbon knot it all at the bottom. Add some extra organdy ribbon or anything else you like at this point to the tassel.

Step 5: With the lid, I wrapped the side with ribbon and covered the top with leaves. The open mouth of the lid wrap some satin ribbon and secure it around the base of the mouth. Make it long (I would say about 36 inches) so you can use it as the hanger. 

Step 6: On with the ribbon tassel I like to tie charms, bells, buttons, leaves, feathers or any other little things to add interest. You can also collect things with your child and tie items on the ribbons together. It may also be a fun idea to occasionally leave items in the tree mail for your child to add to the ribbons. 

And there you have it. Simple, easy and pretty. I like the idea of a clear container so they can see that there is something inside for them. What you put inside is entirely up to you. Like I mentioned before, charms, bells little trinkets with a note attached is fun. You can also leave them notes or assignments for them. Hopefully there will be plenty of ideas coming in the near future. 

That is all for this week! See you all next week, and in the meantime, keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Faeries and Gender.

When venturing into the world of faerie god parenting the issue of gender inevitably will pop up. Those who are unfamiliar with the faerie world and the world of storytelling tend to think of a spritely female with wings. This is common but just one of many many forms.  Because of the word Faerie and its heavily feminine connotation people tend to be uneasy when it comes to having Faerie GodSons.

We live in a very gender defined culture where  girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. Even still it seems more socially acceptable for girls to play with trucks than it is for boys to play with dolls. That being said this project is not about changing your or anyones concept of gender. Those are issues best addressed elsewhere.What this post is primarily about is alleviating some concerns about the male role in these ventures.

In history and folklore almost every culture has had their stories of "little people" or faeries. They come in all shapes and sizes, genders and forms. Some are human in character, some have animal traits.  All you need to do is simply google faerie folklore or even read Shakespeares a Midsummer Nights Dream to see otherwise. Robin Goodfellow (or Puck) is one of my favorite characters of all time!

A good reference when looking for inspiration with boys is Peter Pan. He and the Lost Boys went on so many adventures, and had the help of Tinkerbell. Slaying dragons, going on adventures, playing pirate or showing them magic tricks. Inspiration and imagination is a gender free concept. Every child regardless of whether they are a boy or girl is going to be different. They like different things and different things fascinate them. You need to know what motivates your child and go with it. Whatever their key to the other world is, hand to it them and help them open the door. That ultimately is your job as their Faerie Godparent. 

This also brings up the question about male Faerie Godparents. It may make some guys uncomfortable with calling themselves a Faerie, but I hope if nothing else the above has helped to shed some light and changed some perceptions. If being called a Faerie Godparent or Faerie Godfather still puts you off, you can give yourself an awesome new title like, "Magical Mentor". Nevertheless, the concept is still the same.

Disney movies and modern day fairy tales depict the Faerie Godmother as an older woman who helps a lost girl become a princess. I think it is about high time that changes, don't you? A Faerie Godparent can be anyone you want them to be, and a Faeire GodChild can be anyone you want them to be as well. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. 

That is all for this week my fellow Faerie GodParents! Until next week, keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Follow up to Mondays post.

After Mondays post I received some feedback regarding the post. Mainly it involves your relationship with the parents.  Upon posting, I had the concept in mind that most of the children you will be working with you would already have an established relationship with (your own children, nieces and nephews, children of very close friends, etc). That was an error on my part. While I am sure that will in fact that be the case in a lot of your circumstances it will not always be. 

Something you will need to be cognizant of when becoming a Faerie Godparent is not only the magic but also the safety of yourself as well as the child. With such a focus on "Online Predators" and other people out looking to harm children you want to make sure there are safeguards in place.

Communication with the parents is key. You don't want to give the wrong impression to anyone or cause any issues. It was suggested that a parental consent form be generated and filled out. If you feel that your circumstances deem that necessary, then by all means do so. I will try to generate something to make available for you to download and print up at some point. 

If you are an educator or work with children, then you can use this blog for ideas for your children. Feel free to use some of these projects in your lesson plans. Again this is about taking your individual circumstances and making this your own.  

This also brings us to the point of if you do not have the ability to communicate with the parents or have specific children you can adopt.. There are still things you can do. You can take some of the ideas coming up and simply use them in your every day life. Don't limit yourself. I am going to dedicate an entire post to just that. 

I love hearing your feedback. This, like life, is like a work in process.  Everyones experiences are going to be different. Feel free to post comments on the blog, or become a fan on facebook and start discussions.

Which means you have to keep reading!!!!! 

Until next week.. Keep wishing, and keep dreaming!