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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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Living a Dream and Making Dreams Happen


I recently moved to my dream location. Close to a large Steiner school for my kids and in the middle of a village with many of my favorite teachers, authors and role models in the Steiner world living all around me. This move was huge for my family and continues to be a real leap of faith. A few years prior my husband mentioned a pearl of wisdom someone had shared with him about dreams. They said if you wanted to learn something, create a group for it to be taught. Sort of a “build it and they will come” mantra. Well once we moved here that is what I did. Teaming up with a local handcraft teacher I have started a winter knitting group, children welcome. The women who have come have all been such bright souls and sharing such a soothing meditation such as knitting with new friends has already proven to be a highlight of my week. It is so easy to get stuck in the solitude of our passions.  Do you have a way that you bring community to your craft life?

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Recipes: Coconut Porridge

Recently my family has started doing a bit of a dietary cleanse.  We took, amongst other things, milk, fruit, and sugar out of our diet which left us with a bit of a breakfast quandary.  How can we make porridge without fruit?  Once our taste buds adjusted to the lack of sugar we fell in love with this simple protein enhanced porridge.

We generally allow ½ a cup of dry porridge oats per person giving our toddler a bit less, and us a tad more so adjust this recipe as needed.

This recipe is for 4 people

2 cups of porridge oats

2 cups of water

2 cups of soy milk

¼ cup of desiccated coconut (sugar free)

1/8 cup creamed coconut grated

Seeds (optional)

Rice milk for topping (optional)


Mix all ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium low for 15 minutes or until the porridge is the consistency you enjoy.  The creamed coconut will have melted into the porridge and the wonderful smell should fill your kitchen. Along with the dessicated coconut, using soy milk instead of water gives the porridge a wonderful creamy flavor.  Once served in a bowl, add seeds and rice milk. We use hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden linseed. It is so good and actually does keep me going until lunch!


Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband. She also writes at her blog here.

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Guess what flower these seed pods come from

Can you guess what plant these seedpods are from?

Here is a hint:

by Fairyfolk on Etsy


The answer:  Snap Dragons!

We have been collecting seeds as the weather gets cooler.  I am not a very prolific gardener so I don’t really even know when I am supposed to collect seeds.  My husband, on the other hand, grew up with this knowlage and has been harvesting the small amount of seeds we have this year.  Marigolds, spinach and snap dragons. It was a lot of fun for our daughter to shake the stick of skulls until all the marbles fell out of the heads!


Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband. She also writes at her blog here.

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Our Home: Adult Birthday Celebrations

In many discussions about birthdays and rhythms in the home, the focus is on how we as adults create a reliable pattern for our children. How we celebrate our children and as an extension of that, ourselves as the vessels that brought them into the world.

Both aspects to that celebration are very important. I have found that diving deep into gratitude for my daughters birth has been the most major proponent in healing after her birth. I have also wanted to make sure that our family showed the same gratitude to parenthood when it comes to birthdays. My daughter and I share the same birthday week. It is very easy to put my birthday aside and focus primarily on hers. In fact, since I have been with my husband, he has always been away for my birthday working, so it is actually very easy for me to go unnoticed in my daily life at home.

I had a great plan for this post on adult birthdays in our family.  The, the night before my birthday we were hit with the stomach flu.  The plans, the photos, the intention all went out the window.  My husband made it home for a few hours and we all just hung out and snuggled.  Sometimes the best laid plans dissolve when nature takes over.    What were we going to do?  Roughly, simple meals that wouldn’t be hard for me to make or clean up after, a walk in a nearby forest and a story about birthdays.

It is easy to put yourself second or to not want to make a fuss out of a birthday. I don’t like a lot of attention for mine, to be honest. But I am here on this earth and have worked hard on getting to where I am. It is as important for my children to celebrate that cycle as any other cycle we put energy into in our home. How do you celebrate your birthday with your children?


Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband.

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Tutorial: How to make a back to school Waldorf doll angel

Going back to school is a time that is filled with lots of emotion. For some children it is a time of anticipation, reunion and celebration of an environment they love. For others it is a time of isolation, structure and limitation. Either way, a special surprise is most welcome on the start of any school year. This tutorial is to create a simple little autumn angel that can be easily hid in a school bag, lunch pack or placed on a pillow for the first day of school.

Supplies needed:

  • A fat quarter (I used 2 scraps of different cotton fabrics)
  • Thread
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Skin coloured jersey scrap
  • Stuffing
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Paper and a Pen

Ability requirements: These instructions are for a very basic doll that can be completely hand stitched or machine stitched. This version is not suitable for very small children as it doesn’t have the reinforcements to make sure it can withstand a good chew/ tugging match. I have also minimally used any technical information (like right/ wrong sides of fabric, fabric bias touching, grain, hidden stiches etc) as I wanted to make it accessable to anyone. When I did use a technical term I tried to provide a link. If you know enough to know about these terms, you would also know when they are implimented.

Step 1: Place your the palm of your hand on the sheet of paper and loosely use it as a size guide to make a half oval shape

Step 2: Add a 1/4 inch seam allowence to the outside of your half oval.


Step 3: Place your thumb in the very centre of the straight edge of the oval. Mark either side. This is going to be your neck hole.

Step 4: Fold your fabric in half. Line the straight edge of the oval up against the fold in the fabric. Cut both layers of the fabric around the round part of the pattern only. If you open it up after cutting, you should have a long oval.


Step 5: Draw a right angle triangle a third longer than the half oval. Cut off that bottom 1/3 and you should have a triangle with a flat bottom edge like the one in the photo below. This is going to be the hat.


Step 6: Fold your material like you did for the body. Place the edge of the triangle onto the fold. Cut around the hat except for the folded edge.


Step 7: Turn your hat inside out so the coloured parts are touching. Sew a straight seam up the long angle. Fold a bit of the open edge over and iron. See photo below. Please note: I have used a surger for the angle seam but you don’t need to. You can do this by hand using a straight stitch.


Step 8: You do the same thing again with the body of the angel. Put the pattern sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the round part of the body. Then you need to cut a little opening for the neck. Your pattern will have the marks on it which you can use as a guide. Just a little bit wider than your thumb.


Step 9: Turn the body right side around by pulling the fabric through the hole. Then stuff it with your stuffing.



Step 11: now take your square scrap of flesh tone jersey and fold it in half. It should be wide enough to put your thumb in and long enough to cover your whole thumb. Sew a straight stitch up the long side and across the top. Turn inside out.



Step 12: Push stuffing in to create a round ball at the end of the tube.

Step 13: Tie a piece of embroidery floss 3/4 of the way down the ball.



Step 14: With a piece of embroidery floss, sew two small eyes. I use two simple stitches per eye.


Step 14: Take hat, turn inside out so that the colored side is facing out and tie it onto the head of the angel. Sew the hat onto the head. I use a ladder stitch.


Step 15: Place head into body. Sew around the neck attaching the body fabric to the head.


Step 16: Tie off securely and enjoy!


Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband.

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Tutorial: How to make lavender play dough

I have found this to be the perfect afternoon activity to do with my daughter. She helped me make our first batch and I have since given it away as birthday gifts. Here is what you will need:

1 cup sea salt
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
Food Colouring
Lavender Essential Oil
Step 1: Put all ingredients into a large pot over low heat and stir.

Step 2: Keep stirring! While the mixture is starting to firm up, add in 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I sometimes use 8 drops of lavender 2 of rosemary. The first batch I ever made I just used 6 drops. I can smell the lavender but it wasn’t quite enough for my taste. It is easy to add more so start off small and keep adding to suit your taste. I like using lavender because of its antibacterial properties.

Step 4: Once the dough starts to get too firm to mix and really starts pulling away from the sides of the pot, let it cool a few minutes until it can be handled. Then take it out of the pot and kneed it until soft and smooth. If after a bit of kneading it is sticky, add a touch more flour or place back in to the pot and warm up again. If it is too stiff, wet your hands with water and knead the dough again.

Step 5: Form the dough into balls. I make three balls for the primary colours. Create an indent in the ball and add food colouring there. Kneed again until food colouring is equally distributed. You can then colour combine. Blue and red = purple, Yellow and blue = green and so forth.

Step 6: Create! Play! Mould and Sculpt! Or… let cool to room temperature and then store in an air tight container in the fridge when not in use. I have had my batch for a couple of months now and it is still going strong. Once it starts getting funky, toss it and make more. Creations can be baked. You will have to experiment with your own oven for temperature and duration. Enjoy.

Written by Rachel from OAST

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Book Review: Listen Listen by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay

We are a big book family.  Our daughter loves reading books more than any other activity in her life.  This means that on rainy days read the same books sometimes up to ten times a day in between other activities.  It is important to our family that we all enjoy what we are reading and I can’t recommend Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay (our favorite children’s illustrator), enough.  It is an amazing introduction to the different seasons and each page is full of beautiful art so you can always spot something new.  The rhyme scheme in the book is clever using onomatopoeia.  For example, the book starts off:
“Listen listen… what’s that sound? Insects singing all around!
Chirp, chirp, churr, churr, buzz, buzz, whirr, whirr.” 
From one page to the next and one season to the next, the story is just as much fun to say as it is to look at for both adults and children.  A must have for children ages 1-4. 
Narina with Uncle Adam reading Listen Listen
Written by Rachel Ford Blanchard from OAST

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The Second Time Around


I am 24 weeks pregnant with our second child.  A little over half way. This pregnancy, as every second time mother has shared with me, is very different to my first.  I was very reflective and spiritual about my daughter’s gestation.  I talked to her all the time, I sang, I dreamed of what life was going to be like with her from the moment we tested positive.  Now, with my daughter nearing her second birthday and my son, due to be born a few months after that, I realize that I am just starting to imagine.  That isn’t to say this pregnancy hasn’t been spiritual.  It has been.  It has been the perfect balance of living in the moment and surrender.  I have such little amounts of time that I don’t get a chance to read birthing books that half freak me out and half inspire me.  I don’t get the chance to dwell on each ache and pain.  I just am.  
This is ideal because what I learned last time is that there is very little you can control during labour and delivery.  My memory of my birth has not faded and I understand that what is going to happen will.  What I can do is harvest love and support from those around me and within my family.  Support for my daughter and her relationship with her brother to be.  That is where I start to imagine.  I have entered the mother phase of my life a million times in the past two years.  Each time a piece of who I was, and the effort I put into myself, to be whole and connected to the empowered part of myself shines through.  Being a mother feels natural to me.  Being pregnant again has been a great experience of wisdom.  It has given me a chance to be a much more mellow woman than I was for my daughter.  I move smoothly through the transitions of gestation with a grace I am pleased exists.  


I am looking forward to celebrating my experience of motherhood within my community.  With my daughter, I was unable to do this because I was new to the area.  This time I am going to plan a blessingway.  I am going to include family living in other countries and incorporate art to decorate my belly. I am fostering ideas as we speak but am curious to know: 
What are some ways that you celebrated your motherhood while pregnant?
Written by Rachel from Oast