Home Made crochet Steiner/Waldorf Gnomes and Nins

Since overhauling our toy disaster collection a year ago, I’ve opted for quality, open ended toys that stimulate imaginative play. Our play room is full of wooden food, musical instruments, baby dolls and clothes and a gorgeous doll house full of little wire dolls and hand me down furniture from at least three generations. The little girl who plays in there is much calmer and occupied for much longer in her imaginary worlds.

The next addition I have been hunting for were some sweet felt or wooden Steiner/Waldorf gnomes and small world toys. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near a brick and mortar store that stocks anything Montessori, Steiner, felted, etc. I have a whole list of bookmarked online toy retailers but being in Australia, the shipping would cost more than my cart! The closest store with a beautiful range of fairy houses, felted faires and food, and wooden nins (I love these little nins by Grapat) and gnomes is the beautiful Goldfish Toys in Berry, NSW …a three hour drive away. I didn’t want to wait until our next countryside escape to pick up some $8 gnomes I had my eye on so I took to Pinterest and Youtube in a quest to make my own.

These little guys are the results and I couldn’t be happier. It took about 30 – 45 minutes to make each one and I already had the yarn and 3mm crochet hook. They are super cute, are very similar to Grapat Nins and definitely cost less to make than petrol for 6 hours driving then $8 each if I was to buy them in Berry.

I followed HappyBerry Crochet’s “Wizard Gnome” tutorial only I used a 3mm hook, 8ply arcrylic yarn and I chose to stuff my little gnomes with poly fill while Laura keeps hers open like a finger puppet.

To seal the bottom, finish the final round as the video instructs and instead of tying off, CH 1 and in back loops only, SC in next stitch, SC2TOG in the next. Repeat SC, SC2TOG until end. Your stitch count will reduce to 12. Stuff your gnome at this point then SC2TOG x 6. Tie off and sew the hole closed. I poke the needle back through the hole and pull to flatten out the bottom before hiding the tail end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this idea helps another mama looking to make her own set of little gnome friends. I have this vision of an entire toy box of toys I’ve made my children. What are some other handmade toy ideas? Amish puzzle balls, stacking bowls, rattles and loveys spring to mind. Now to actually make them!

Happy Sunday,

Liz xx

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Lake Bumbunga, SA ~ The Pink Lake with kids

Lake Bumbunga in Lochiel, SA is a pink salt lake located 2 hours drive north of Adelaide or 40 mins west of Clare.

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It is surreal and beautiful and a brilliant place to visit. It’s also isolated, Google Maps will navigate you to a private dirt road hundreds of metres from the lake itself, and the sharp, salt encrusted ground under the water can rip up little feet in an instant.

How to get there?

Navigate to “Jitter Bean Oasis” which is a cafe/convenience style road side stop located in Lochiel, SA. Park outside and cross the road for best access to the lake.

What facilities are there?

The only “facilities” near the lake is a green shed public toilet on the corner of Robert St & the Princes Highway. I don’t recommend this for a toilet stop but it has a tap inside which we used for washing the salt off our hands. I can’t confirm if this was rain, bore or drinking water and there was no signs or anyone around to ask. Let me know if you visit Lake Bumbunga and find a fresh water tap close by!

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Here are some tips for making a visit to the “Pinkie Pond” as my 4 year old dubbed it so much smoother.

  • Wear rubber sandals if you enter the water – $1.50 thongs from Kmart with a strap did the trick for my little one and saved the pain from the sharp, salt encrusted sea bed. I put my thongs on as well after a few nasty scratches myself.
  • Wear sunscreen & hats 
  • Baby wipes – Trust me on this one. After stepping out of the pretty pink water you’ll begin to notice a layer of dried salt on absolutely everything. My black jeans looked like someone had thrown flour at me, little Lottie’s legs, hands and hair was caked in salt and nothing but the baby wipes we bought in Clare 40 minutes later after a crunchy and uncomfortable car ride would get it off.
  • Carry fresh water – common advice for visitors to the Clare Valley as many properties run on rain water and the safe tap water has a strong taste. You can buy cases of water in supermarkets and food stores in the towns around this area. A case of fresh drinking water in the car and a few bottles of safe tap water for washing will make the journey back from the lake a lot more comfortable especially if little ones managed to get salt in their eyes!

What did we learn?

We did some research on the differences between fresh and salt water creatures before our trip and used our visit to Lake Bumbunga to reinforce the differences between the water in the sea, inland lakes, swimming pools and taps. Honestly, this was mostly for fun and photos rather than study!

Travel bug

We’re slowly but surely acting on our plan to explore more of Australia.


Hubby & I have seen 7 out of 8 states/territories but we want to explore them all again as a family. We’ve taken Lottie to 4 so far.


This week we’ve been exploring Adelaide and South Australia. I can’t wait to write up all the details – free & frugal sightseeing, top tips for exploring the naturally pink Lake Bumbunga (baby wipes people – trust me 🙄), mixing wineries & whiny kids, and how my travel capsule wardrobe works for me.

Liz xx

Our Play Kitchen hack

Our very own play kitchen make over is complete!


We picked up this pink, grimy Barbie kitchen from Gumtree a few weeks ago and got to work on fixing it up for our little princess.


So so happy with the results! The marble wallpaper from Kmart Australia is a popular hack I picked up from others on Facebook and Instagram and it adds the perfect touch. The black and gold was Hubby’s idea and it looks great.


Our little Lottie is obsessed with her new kitchen and we look forward to many more tea parties and creative play this weekend!

Liz x

August means Birthdays!

It’s all about the birthday parties this month. Our little lady has back to back parties and is loving every minute of celebrating with her friends.


Her writing skills are coming along great and we make a special point of Lottie writing her friend’s name on their card all by herself. 

I’ve just booked her birthday party for November and am up to my ears in vendor quotes for cake, custom cookies, balloons and her special surprise gift. 

I love planning her the perfect day to make her feel special. The effort is worth the memories.

Liz x

My Essentials; VeraTemp No Contact Themometer

Lottie was the most unsettled baby I have ever come across. Her first flu at 7 months was a month long ordeal and taking her temperature was an epic task. She wriggled, kicked, bit and screamed as I tried to hold a digital thermometer under her arm for 30 secs and never got a decent reading. The tympanic ones that take temperature from the ear were no better and on the rare occasion she had dozed off and was lying still enough to try this method, she would wake up immediately when it touched her ear and we’d have to start again.

But then I found the VeraTemp no contact thermometer (home use version) at the Baby & Toddler Show 2 years ago and the chaos and exhaustion that comes with a sick little one was made that much easier.

Point & Click. That’s it.

The VeraTemp Home thermometer not only measures body temp but also surface and room temperature. I’ve measured bath water and bottles as well as feverish kiddos. Oli measured everything from the Xbox battery to his cup of tea when we first brought it home.

  

The VeraTemp is listed on the Australian EvoMed online store and at YourDiscountChemist however you can usually find it on eBay too. Stockists tend to vary.

This is not a sponsored post. A contactless thermometer is just one of the most useful tools I’ve come across since becoming a parent and I wanted to share it with others.

Preschool Reading Lessons with an Alphabet Puzzle

A combination of ABC Reading eggs, bedtime stories and Lottie’s wonderful preschool have been bringing her literacy skills along great.

But things went turbo charged on the letter recognition and pre-reading skills when I picked up this thing for $8 at Kmart a few weeks ago.

It’s just a simple wooden puzzle board with the letters of the alphabet but the effect on Lottie’s literacy has been instant and massive.

She’ll sit at the table and pick up each letter listing the words she knows that start with that letter – the friends names she learned at preschool and basic words from our books at home, arrange them to match small words like “Pig the Pug” and hand out the letters to visitors who’s names start with them. Auntie Kate gets a K, Daddy gets a D or an O for Oli.

We’ve come up with a few little literacy games, perfect for the evening while dinner is cooking or weekend afternoons.

Lesson #1 – Match the Letters

This is my favourite. All you need is one of your child’s favourite books. Boards books with few words and large print work best. We’ve been using a Peppa Pig one.

Just choose a page, ask your child what is happening in the story and then to pick a word on the page. They then choose the letters from their puzzle and lay them beside the word, sounding out the letters as they go.

Lesson #2 – Amazing Letter Race

This works best with two children but another adult can play along too. Pop all the letters from the puzzle in a bag, give each player a basket and then pull a letter from from the bag. Put 1 minute on the timer and race to find as many objects that start with that letter as possible. A calmer option would be to walk together around the house with the chosen letter pointing out all the things that start with that letter.

Lesson #3 -Alphabet Bingo

Always a solid choice, another game for 2 children or you and your child. Keeping the puzzle pieces in the bag, have a piece of paper with the alphabet written on it or the child’s name and some markers to place on the letters as they are drawn.

Liz x

 

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Slightly sick of years of paying $45pp for High Tea each May (and alarmed at a guest list of 10+) I decided to host my own this Mother’s Day.

It was our first event in our new place and was a complete success! Any one just starting life with marriage, kids and setting up homes will understand that things have always been a little too small, not enough chairs, ran out of plates, only Peppa Pug cups left – but not this time. This time was our chance to host a really great afternoon for our families.

(Lottie “helped” with the jelly)

Hubby’s mother made tons of finger sandwiches and his little sister made a beautiful chocolate cake. Tea and conversation flowed and Grandmother-in-Law declared my scones ‘incredible’! I loved seeing so many people we love (12 of us all up) so happy and relaxed. It was a perfect day.

The most perfect part of my Mother’s Day was sharing it with my little Lottie. Her cuddles, her stories and the cupcake she iced and decorated for me were the greatest gifts I could ask for.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums/aunts/grandmothers/guardians who’s posts I read with interest, love and empathy.

Liz x

If lost…

Like any other parent, I often find myself in crowds with my excitable and stubborn 3yr old who is a “big girl” and can “walk by herself”. Writing my phone number in Sharpie on her arm then spending the next three days after we’re home safe and sound scrubbing it off wasn’t ideal but it worked.

Of course I saw this brilliant idea of of phone number bracelet on Pinterest. I can’t find the original post but there’s dozens of variations out there.

I think it turned out great and Lottie likes it too (enough to keep it on her wrist).