Winter’s on the wing

A few days ago, we spotted our first robin of the season, splashing around in the planter in our front yard. We scurried outside ourselves and took a walk on our favorite nature trail, a mile or two through wooded swampland. It’s a sacred place for us, and we love observing the first signs of a changing season.

When a thing is wick, it has a light around it…

Now maybe not a light that you can see…

But hiding down below, a spark’s asleep inside it…

Waiting for the right time to be seen. (The Secret Garden)

wick  (wɪk)
— adj
1. lively or active
2. alive

We wish you a spring blooming wildly with new, sweet growing things.

Posted in enchanted lifestyles, enchanted nature | 4 Comments

Fairy Friday Random!

The Fable Tribe‘s next update on Etsy will be this Wednesday, the evening of March 14th. It will include several new magical types of treasures, and some new-ish favorites–stay tuned for magic! ❤

As you’ve been able to tell during this Unicorn Week, here at the Fable Tribe, my wife Jenn and I really kind of love unicorns. A lot. I’m an author (I write lesbian YA things, and original lesbian fairy tales–you are not surprised), and end up putting unicorns in much of my work (because lesbian stuff is made EXPONENTIALLY BETTER with unicorns. It’s like a universal law), but never before have I done a book ABOUT unicorns. You know. Until now. Two weeks from now, my short story anthology, Sparkle Princess Were-Unicorn (And Other Glittery, Queer, Off-the-wall, Rainbow-coated Stories) will be released. It has fairy stories, unicorn stories, tiny-adorable-zombie stories, and is just dripping with cuteness and magic. Look for it soon!

Every time there’s a rainbow in the sky, Sabrina has the awkward misfortune of suddenly becoming a unicorn. Were-unicorns are supposed to protect the magical Sparkle Princess, but Sabrina didn’t sign up for this–she is determined to find a cure for were-unicorn-ism. That is, until she falls head over heels in love with the Sparkle Princess, who–after all–really does need protecting from her arch-enemy: the evil, yet marvelous, Violentta. Is Sabrina up to the task of a rainbowy showdown, or will Violentta get exactly what she wants: the crown of the Sparkle Princess?

“Sparkle Princess Were-Unicorn” is one of nine glittery, queer, off-the-wall, rainbow-coated stories about magical, queer young ladies. They contain a good dose of absolutely-no-seriousness and a great big bag of sparkle.

Russian photographer Andrey Pavlov has a vivid and delightful imagination. He’d never read fairy tales as a child, but when he began to have children of his own, he decided to remedy that. The fairy tales enchanted him so much, he decided to go about creating some of his own with the most fascinating, living and obliging creatures…ants! He creates tiny props, and ants–naturally inquisitive creatures–provide the magic. You can see many more enchanting images here~

You think you know all the fairy tales, right? The Princess and the Pea and Rapunzel and Snow White…and then something so fantastic is unearthed, that it changes the face of fairy tale scholarship forever. Five hundred new fairy tales were discovered in Germany over a year ago–a collection that had been locked in an archive for over 150 years is now found. This is super exciting news–even more exciting? You can read one of these new fairy tales, translated into English here–“The Turnip Princess~”

The Tiny House Blog is our addiction–what’s more fairy than a tiny house, surrounded by nature, completely self sufficient and self-sustaining? *happy sigh* Also, most tiny houses look incredibly fairy, including this series of little wooden houses with round holed doors. Hobbit hole, anyone?

From tiny to ginormous! Let’s indulge in some eye candy for a minute…Our visions of fairy tale castles are created from the real things–take a peek at seven historical castles that look like they’re from the pages of a fairy tale–and perhaps they are!





(Have a fairy exciting bit of news? Want to spread the word about something magical? Want to enchant more lovely fae? Send us an email with the info, and we’ll do our best to include your piece of pixie news in the next Fairy Friday Random! <3)

Posted in fairy friday random | 2 Comments

Unicorn House! (Thrifted and Gifted Unicorns)

It’s Unicorn Week here at The Fable Tribe! We have a sparkly lineup of unicorn-themed posts planned for every day this week.

Sarah and I spend most of our time at home–cooking and writing and reading and creating. Since we’re both visual people, we love surrounding ourselves with colorful, enchanting things, things that spark ideas, inspire stories and art, and reflect us as a couple.

We have a lot of resident unicorns.

Including our dog, Poesy!

Most–nearly all–of our unicorns were thrift store rescues. (Thrift stores are the best place to find unicorns!) Some we received as gifts. I walked through the house and snapped photos of as many unicorns as I could track down… A few were a bit too shy to pose for the camera right now, but maybe they’ll show up in future posts.

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our unicorn-rich world and find some inspiration from the images yourself!

A gift from Sarah’s sister. She found this unicorn at an antique store without a horn, so Sarah’s father made a horn for it.

My Little Ponies!

Baby Firefly and Baby Glory were the toppers on our wedding cake.

We have a lot of unicorn wall art–more than I’d realized, actually!

Thrifted cross-stitch piece. The colors are so bright!

Also thrifted! This giant framed unicorn mirror reminds us of a tavern sign. If we ever owned a bar, it would probably be a unicorn bar.

Our kitchen and dining room are decorated all over with hex signs, including unicorn ones! This hex sign symbolizes piety, virtue and harmony.

I found these unicorns (unpainted) at a pottery shop.

One of my favorite thrift finds of all time–a large needlework piece based on the unicorn in captivity tapestry.

A gorgeous Susan Seddon Boulet unicorn print.

Another print by Susan Seddon Boulet, titled “Rose Unicorn.”

Susan Seddon Boulet’s beautiful depiction of Amalthea and the Red Bull.

We love super-kitschy wall plaques. This is our first unicorn one! It’s old and stained, but we still love it.

A very regal unicorn rampant, unearthed at a flea market. He’s very big and hangs in our “unicorn hallway.”

This original artwork was a gift to me from Sarah’s sister, Laura, who is a fantastic artist (and singer). It’s called “The Peaceable Kingdom.”

More unicorn stuff:

Unicorn and mermaid finger puppets! These were gifts from Laura, too.

My little unicorn ring.

A translucent unicorn horn made of selenite.

A thrifted suncatcher.

This photo is from a couple of years ago (winter is still with us, so no garden decorations yet this year): our little fairy door and its unicorn guardian.

Another oldish photo of a unicorn amidst the hostas in front of our house.

 Whew, I think that’s the last of our unicorn stampede! Thanks for looking!

Posted in enchanted lifestyles, unicorns | 4 Comments

The Last Unicorn: Then and Now

It’s Unicorn Week here at The Fable Tribe! We have a sparkly lineup of unicorn-themed posts planned for every day this week.

Then:

I’m six. I hold my mother’s hand as she walks my brother and me and my baby sister across the street–it’s a very busy street with no stoplight, so I hold her hand tightly–and to the little video rental store that’s recently opened up in our teeny tiny town.

I hurry to the children’s section right away, zoning in on the pink-and-purple-colored box covers.

There’s a pretty big selection, but I’m six and a kid of the ’80s: I only have eyes for unicorns.

“Again?” my mother sighs when I hand her “The Last Unicorn” video. “But you just watched that last week. And the week before that. And the week before that…”

I’m insistent and steadfast. I pout a little, too.

I wait for my mom to pay and then clutch the precious video to my chest as we walk back home.

Later:

I’m a freshman in college on my very first day: shy, wide-eyed and mildly terrified. My seminar teacher passes out a syllabus for the semester, and I scan it over quickly, heart beating fast. How many papers will I have to write? Will I–horror of horrors–have to give presentations in front of the class?

Will I make it out of this place alive?

But then there’s a magical moment, the kind of moment that changes everything.

One of our assigned books is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

Shamefully, though I know the dialogue of the movie, the musical score of the movie, every image of the movie by heart, I have never read the book. I am only vaguely aware that a book exists. (This, after all, is long, long before Wikipedia. Chat rooms are a brand-new invention!)

I hurry to the campus bookstore after class and purchase my paperback copy of The Last Unicorn, brushing my hand over the cover image reverently.

I read it–devour it, honestly–delighting over the similarities to the film and savoring the lyrical language.

When I give a presentation on the book several weeks later, I feel brave. I know this. This is my story. One little butterfly flutters in my stomach, just one, and he’s whispering nonsensical words that only I–and maybe a certain unicorn–can understand.

Later yet:

Magic is happening.

(Look and see her, how she sparkles…)

I’ve married the love of my life, the match to my soul, and we’re dancing after our wedding.  We were meant to be: she, too, has intimate acquaintance with the butterfly, the unicorn, the castle that crumbled into the sea. We’ve  faced down the Red Bull together. A whole herd of Red Bulls. The story is alive, changing. It’s our story now.

And this is our song.

Now:

The Last Unicorn, in all of its incarnations, is as intricately entwined with my being as my own name. I am, at different times of the day, Molly Grue–scrubbing at dishes and waiting, always waiting, for my unicorn to appear; Schmendrick–feeling small and inadequate but stalwartly allowing the magic to do as it will; Lir–shaken out of bored indifference by love and driven to achieve daring feats for the lady of my heart; and Amalthea–a bit lost and alien, searching for kindred spirits who understand me, every part of me, even the parts I don’t understand myself.

There will never be another story like this for me. It’s grown far beyond story; it’s mythology, a spiritual tome. It’s been with me since the beginning and will be with me until my last breath.

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I urge you to do so at your first opportunity. The Last Unicorn is a fairy tale about fairy tales, and about transformation. It has certainly transformed my life.

   

Posted in enchanted reading, fairy tales, unicorns | 11 Comments

Herding Unicorns

It’s Unicorn Week here at The Fable Tribe! We have a sparkly lineup of unicorn-themed posts planned for every day this week.

In 2010, as we were planning our fairy costumes for the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, Sarah and I came up with a crazy/totally-normal-for-us idea: What if, instead of wearing the usual fairy costumes, we dressed up as UNICORNS?

Our eyes filled with rainbow-colored hearts.

No, wait! What if we could convince our friends to dress up as unicorns, too?

We put our powers of persuasion to work, and (after a lot of begging and pleading)…voila! The unicorn herd was born.

l-r Sara, me, Sarah, Shel (photo taken by our dear friend Rachel)

Shel made unicorn horn headbands for Sara and herself, and Sarah and I made ours. They were very easy, actually! So I wrote up some quick instructions for making a horn of your own.

What you’ll need:

  • one package of white clay (we recommend Fimo, but Sculpey or Premo are fine)
  • one wide headband in the color of your choice
  • a selection of artificial flowers and leaves
  • E-6000 glue (fantastic bonding power!) or a hot glue gun
  • craft paint (optional)
  • glitter (never optional!)

How to make a unicorn horn headband:

Soften up some of the clay by kneading it a bit before sculpting, and then shape it into a twirling unicorn horn.  Don’t be intimidated!  If you’re unhappy with your first attempt, just roll up the clay and try again.  Once you’re satisfied with the horn’s appearance, bake in your oven following the instructions on the clay packaging.

When your horn is through baking and has cooled, you can simply leave it as is, unpainted white clay, or paint it in whatever color you’d like. We painted Sarah’s white with an outdoor-safe acrylic paint, to give it an extra layer of protection, and we painted mine a pinkish-purple. After the paint dried, we coated them with a layer of sparkly glitter paint.  Of course, you don’t have to add glitter to your unicorn horn, but we do highly, highly recommend it! ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.

Once your horn is finished, glue it to the center of a simple, wide headband and let it dry. If you’re using hot glue, this won’t take long, but the E-6000 will need some time to permanently bond.

Now set your inner flower fairy loose and surround the horn with lots of faux flowers, leaves, vines…whatever you’d like. Glue them into place, and once the glue has dried, wear your magical, mystical unicorn horn with pride–and an appreciation for the inherent joy of silliness.

l-r Sarah, Shel, Sara, me (photo by Rachel)

Posted in enchanted crafts, enchanted lifestyles, the magic wardrobe, unicorns | 8 Comments

Killer Unicorns! (and How I Learned to Love Them)

It’s Unicorn Week here at The Fable Tribe! We have a sparkly lineup of unicorn-themed posts planned for every day this week.

I was a unicorn crazy kid.  I plastered my bedroom walls with cotton-candy-colored unicorn posters of the Lisa Frank variety, and I watched The Last Unicorn animated film in a state of mystic awe…at least a million times.

I’ve grown up, and my aesthetic has changed a tiny bit: I’ve traded Lisa Frank posters for replicas of the The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries and Susan Seddon Boulet unicorn prints. That unicorn reverence has never left me. And I still watch (and read) The Last Unicorn with tears in my eyes.

So it was with some horror that I first read a synopsis of the young adult novel Rampant by author Diana Peterfreund:

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

I still remember the moment I first encountered this book. I was standing in Barnes & Noble with a copy in my hands, and my jaw dropped. “Man-eating monsters”? Shocked! and appalled!, I put the book back on the shelf and vowed to have nothing to do with it.

That was a couple of years ago. Recently I spotted Rampant at my local library, snarled at it just a little (out of steadfast loyalty to all unicornkind)…but then I begrudgingly picked it up and read the first few pages.

I was fascinated. The writing was good, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny; the characterization was compelling; and, I had to admit, the plot was wonderfully inventive, if insulting to my delicate unicorn sensibilities. So…I borrowed the book.

And I read the book.

And I loved the book.

Right away, I checked out its sequel, Ascendant, and promptly devoured it, too.

There are most definitely killer unicorns in this series (which also includes two short stories, Errant and The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn). Lots of them! Of all shapes and sizes. But there are also lots of strong, inspiring, courageous girls. Astrid, the main character, is a flawed, honest, very likable heroine. We experience the mysterious world of unicorn hunting alongside her, with all of its intrigue, bloodshed, and heartbreak.

On her author website, Diana Peterfreund shares some of the unicorn research she delved into while writing these books. There are several species of unicorns in her Killer Unicorns series, but I have a special fondness for the zhi, little fuzzy white things that might be found curling up on a bed to nap with a unicorn hunter one moment…and tearing a full-grown peacock to shreds in the next. (I have a secret weakness for adorable, vicious creatures–just ask my cat Penguin.)

In reading through Diana’s research, I have to admit I’m woefully under-read as far as unicorn lore goes. She does present a convincing case for her aggressive beasts, writing that her books are an “attempt to bring back the fullness of the unicorn legend in all its complexity.” There really is quite a bit of complexity in her tale of virgin unicorn huntresses descended from ancient family lines of virgin unicorn huntresses.

There is also plenty of old-fashioned unicorn magic.

Without any reservations, I wholeheartedly recommend this series to unicorn-crazy people   everywhere. Diana has created a world as immersive, mythic and whimsical as that of Harry Potter, but with the chased-down, danger-is-everywhere urgency of The Hunger Games series–complete with weapons-wielding teenagers. But the Killer Unicorns books stand alone as epic, inspiring, female-powered tales of beauty and beasts.

Also…SPOILER ALERT (highlight below to read!):

Two major supporting characters turn out to be lesbians! And they are quite sweet together. Seriously, unicorns and lesbians? Could a story be more perfect?

So, yeah, I stand corrected. Maybe unicorns don’t have to always be the adorable rainbow-colored dreams the ’80s promised me they were.

MAAAAAGIC!

Not always. Just sometimes.

Posted in enchanted reading, unicorns | 6 Comments

The Fable Tribe on Etsy: Second Update!

The second update of our Etsy shop, The Fable Tribe, is now live! Many magical Glamourkins have been added–please go take a peek and see if any speak to you! ❤

Take an old, unloved fairy tale book and an original spell, charm and poem, combine them together with a bit of magic, and you create a Glamourkin pendant. Based on the idea of the “Glamourbomb,” (any act or creation that brings magic to the mundane), each Glamourkin is utterly unique, made in the spirit of enchantment.

We believe each Glamourkin is created for one specific person. Are you the one? ❤

TheFableTribe.Etsy.com

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