I have no idea when the gnome thing happened. Some neural pathway lit up straight to the magic center of my brain the first time I saw Wil Huygen's book Gnomes. It just had it's thirtieth anniversary, so I must have a seven or eight year old girl, and ruing the fact that we lived in a place without too many gnomes, as the map included showed me. All I know is that my mother wouldn't buy that book for me, so I studied it in the library. I wanted it.
One of the cool things about being an adult is buying the things denied you as a child. I now own Gnomes, and Secrets of Gnomes, a Gnome Christmas, and a bunch of other gnome books. (Take that, MOM!) I also own a pair of Doc Martens. My first pair of black Docs. My only other pair were a purple pair I bought off the discount rack at Zipperheads when I had my first waitressing job. I think I didn't pay my electric bill that month to buy them.
Anyway, back to the gnomes. The children are as enraptured with gnomes as I was as a child. After Beezus came into being, I rediscovered the magic of gnomes again. I think I first bought a garden gnome, then decided to refind the Gnomes book, and then it all went downhill from there. So garden gnome may be the gateway to CRAZY.
And so, I have combined my love of gnomes with the definite parental need of having toddler-friendly activities to occupy the kids while out in public. Beezus has always been pretty good when we go out to eat, and part of that is pure planning. I bring crap to keep her occupied before the food comes. Diaper bags are only so big, so everything really needs to be compact. So, I created what I call the Gnome Pocket.
I am truly, truly terrible at sewing, but I made this out of one sheet of felt. You know, the kind you buy at Joanns for 29 cents a sheet. It is recycled plastic or something. I have no idea. But I had some of this felt, which is 9"x12". I folded it with one end longer than the other, then blanket stitched the whole thing with orange embroidery floss. This took less than fifteen minutes to make. And as of now, it has lasted two point five years, or something. This is such a weird picture, but the felt is brown. I did needle felt a little mushroom on it, just for practice. Anyway, all folded and sewn like this makes it 9 inches by 5 inches, approximately, which fits nicely in a diaper bag.
The magical thing about this gnome pocket is what is inside it.
GNOMES! MUSHROOMS! FAIRIES! ACORN GIRLS! PEG GIRLS!
Okay, first off, the first picture has a rolled piece of felt in it. Another twenty-nine cent piece of felt, which is actually...
a campfire for the gnomes. I felted a few pine trees, some logs, and a campfire. Again, a quick creation. I basically fold it in half with the trees laying flat against the felt, and roll it. Awesome.
What else is in the gnome pocket? Well...
Two felted mushrooms,
Three peg girls, Daisy, Strawberry and Butterfly,
Four acorn babies--one for Beezus, one for Thomas, two of Lucia (I ordered a second one when one went missing/assumed eaten by Jack the dog, but then recovered.),
Two acorn fairies, one of Beezus and one of Lucy, and of course, it wouldn't be a gnome pocket without...
When I first started creating a nature altar/table, I searched Etsy for nature table things, and came across this amazing shop called Painting Pixie, she handsews these little gnomes for each season. We intended on using them on our nature table, but then we started putting them in a little drawstring bag and taking them with us to play at restaurants and doctor office waiting rooms, and before you knew it, we had the whole collection of little beings to play with on the road.
I wish I could tell you that I created all these little things, but I didn't. I bought each of them. The acorn kids I bought from Dream Child Studio. We also have a few felted crowns, and other wonderful things from her shop, like the fairy ring. The little painted peg girls are from a shop no longer selling, but I loved them. I actually bought them for the girls' room when Lucia was in my belly and I was looking to commit to making their room more girly.