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Creating Magic: The Marrow Gnome Home

This week is my daughter’s first half term.  Kindergarten has proven to be some serious play and we are all worn down around here. Noses are running, chests are rattling, tempers are short.  It is the perfect time to bring a little more magic into our lives.  My daughter brought home a gnome home from school. It is a half a marrow with windows and a door cut out. The insides have been scooped out and in the roof a piece of a branch has been inserted with some wool stuffing glued to the top to look like a chimney and smoke.

The marrow gnome home has been sitting on our table. Each day when we go out for a walk we bring home a little more. Conkers, acorns, and many beautiful colored leaves. We were hoping to make the marrow home comfortable for a gnome to come visit.  Last night Narina had the perfect idea of putting some of the crab apples off of our front lawn inside the home.


After she went to sleep I made a simple gnome and sat it beside the marrow.  I bit off half the apple and put it in his hand.  Then I cut a heart out and placed it in a tuft of wool batting and put it on her place setting this morning at breakfast. When my daughter saw this in the morning she was so happy.  We did it.  We made a gnome come and he left us the little doll to let us know what he looks like.


These little magical moments of imagination and play fill everyone’s heart heart up.  How do you create magical moments in your family?



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A witch’s Halloween

I once had a sort of argument with another mother on a parenting forum. She posted about how much she disliked Halloween and all the dead things that go with it. That celebrating death was a total nonsense. Somehow it hurted my feeling.

As someone that is celebrating the Cycle of the Year and try to teach it to my children, Samhain, the witch’s Halloween, is very dear to me.  It’s a time to turn inward and think about the year that have passed. For us it’s the last day of the year. In celebrating Death, we celebrate something that first was alive. In Fall, we celebrate our mother earth that gave us her bunty and now takes a well deserved rest. We celebrate the shortening of daylight because it was once delightly sunny all day. Like in the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the shortest day of the year for it can only go up from that point, Samhain is the deadest point of the Year and while the land will freeze and the animals will hide, everything is still alive, just waiting.

Celebrating Death dosen’t take anything out of Life…Death is not the opposite of Life, it is it’s rightful companion. Most of religions and spiritual paths consist of finding one’s balance. People wants and need to be scared a little, they need to listen to sad songs even when they are happy. Ignoring all the skeletons, vampires and zombies is ignoring a part of ourselves.

Samhain is also a wonderfull time to look back to where we come from.Take some times to teach about your ancesters. Talk about your parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents if you were lucky enough to know them or if someone told you about them. Create a family tree to display if you don’t already have one. Find pictures of them, younger ones are especially special to kids, frame them and display them along with your Halloween decorations.

This is the opportunity to slow down and rest. Enjoy what you already have at home, and the people that are in it.


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Halloween Doesn’t Have to be Hellish

Way back when my husband & I were first married, we were the creeps on the street who turned our lights off on Halloween.  We weren’t trying to be nasty adults; we just felt that in a society that tended to err on the side of over-consumption, sending children out to fill plastic pumpkins with sugar seemed over the top.  We hid the holiday from our oldest child for a couple of years – one year going to a cabin, one year simply going to bed.  But last year we started what will hopefully become our Halloween tradition.

A week or so before Halloween we made fall lanterns.  They sat dark in our kitchen for the nights leading up to Halloween.  The day before Halloween, we carved jack-o-lanterns.  These, too, sat dark in our kitchen. I can’t say when, but sometime during the afternoon of Halloween the pumpkins went missing.  (And yes, they were missed.)  As twilight set in, we ceremoniously lit our autumn lanterns and paraded up to our forest.  (We live in town on a half-acre.  We do have a wee patch of woods in our back yard, but to our son, it’s a forest.)  And what did we find?  Jack-o-lanterns a-glow among the stumps.  With darkness settling, we sat and watched our flames and listened for our neighborhood great horned owl.  What next?  Tell a story, sing a song, drink hot cider, or simply be.  To me, that is magic.

You too can make your own autumn lantern!  It’s easy and beautiful.  Dig out an old Mason jar (any size will work but the small, squat ones are perfect for smaller hands).  Unearth some tissue paper – you can use white and paint it with autumnal colors after it’s affixed to the lantern, or go ahead and use red, orange and yellow tissue paper.  Paint the jar with Mod-Podge.  Stick on the tissue paper.  Let dry.  Paint another coat or two of Mod-Podge, letting it dry between coats.  If you’ve used white tissue paper, paint it.  Twist a thin-gauge wire around the neck of the jar to make a handle.  Place a tea light in the jar (a bit of sand will hold it in place nicely) and behold: autumnal magic.

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Make a Skeleton Bread (A Video Tutorial)

A video tutorial for a spooOOOooooky kid-friendly project by Eve!

This delicious and funny Skeleton Bread is just the thing for a Halloween Party or part of a fun and nutritious meal just before trick or treat time on Halloween evening.

Eve’s video instructions will guide you through the shaping process!

Eve used this recipe from Martha Stewart for the dough. The recipe explains how to poach your skeleton before baking to give it an authentic soft pretzel taste and texture. (Martha shapes fingers in this recipe).

Use the video to make a skeleton, or use the idea to create your own creature!

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How To: Knit a Pumpkin

It’s Fall! It’s October! It’s pumpkin time! Dust off your knitting needles for this great little pattern by Linda. Her original post on her blog, Natural Suburbia, has plenty of pictures for step-by-step guidance and some handy suggestions for pumpkin use.

Materials Needed:
Wool needle for sewing up
Circular needles
2 double pointed needles
Orange yarn for your pumpkin and green for your stem.
Fleece for stuffing

I have knitted this pumpkin using the magic loop technique.

With circular needles cast on 9 stitches.
Round 1: Knit the first round.
Round 2: Increase into every stitch in the second round, you will now have 18 stitches.
Round 3: Knit 1 round.
Round 4: Increase into each stitch in the 4th round, you will now have 36 stitches.
Round 5 to 9: Knit
Round 10: Knit 2 together all across the round.(18 stitches)
Round 11: Knit.
Round 12: Knit 2 together all across the round. (9 stitches)
Round 13: Knit.

Leaving a long thread, break yarn and thread onto a wool needle, thread your wool needle through your stitches, stuff and pull tight. Do not overstuff as this might make your pumpkin look too round, I understuffed my pumpkin and the convolutions of the pumpkin’s skin showed up quite nicely. The wool I knitted him in was also a little on the chunky side and handspun and this worked quite well:)

Once you have closed the top opening of your pumpkin, take your needle, push down through your pumpkin, pull out on the other side and pull tight. This makes a depression on the top of your pumpkin. Sew tightly underneath.

Pick up 2 stitches in the middle of the top of your pumpkin, attach your green thread and knit an I-cord for a stalk.

Sew in all your ends and you are finished, enjoy!!

(This pattern is for personal use only 🙂

Linda gives her four children the credit for inspiring her to create the wonderful Waldorf inspired knitted and wooden farm animals, gnomes and other toys that inhabit her Etsy shop. Knitting patterns for toys and finished treasures are all available from Mamma4earth.