Category Archives: Peg Dolls

Our Summer Gnomes

Summer GnomesI finished our summer gnomes some time ago and then forgot to post about them. For those who have missed my previous posts, Dora asked me to make a gnome for each month of the year. We put them out on our nature/seasonal shelf with our days-of-the-week gnomes and weather gnomes. Dora doesn’t know the names or order of the months, but wanted a gnome to associate with each calendar page of our family calendar. With five children, three of which are in college, our calendar plays a central role in our life and is prominent in our kitchen. You can go to these links to see my previous posts about our winter gnomes and spring gnomes.

I really struggled with the summer gnomes. From the beginning, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with the winter, spring, and fall gnomes. The summer gnomes – not so much. Some readers gave me some suggestions and I kind of bounced off of some of those. I was trying for a hot and fiery look. To make their hats, I needle felted a “skull cap” for the gnomes, but left the tops of the caps unfelted. I then kind of twisted the tops to make them resemble a candle flame. I’m not 100% happy with them, but have yet to come up with a better idea (other than perhaps make felt sun caps, which I may yet try).

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Labels: Gnomes, Needle Felting, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Summer
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Spring Gnomes

Spring GnomesI’ve completely finished making our monthly gnomes and am now moving on to new projects! For our spring monthly gnomes, I used a pattern from Making Peg Dolls, by Margaret Bloom.

Here is what the hat looks like from the back and above.

Spring Gnomes Back View

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Arts and Crafts, Gnomes, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Spring, Waldorf
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Our Winter Monthly Gnomes

Winter GnomesI’m finishing up the monthly gnomes that Dora asked me to make. As I mentioned previously, I opted to design different head attire for the gnomes, based on each season. Here are our winter gnomes for December, January, and February. I made knitted hats for these little guys, using this pattern from Anna Branford. It was fairly easy, especially given that I am a novice knitter that hadn’t done any knitting in almost a decade. It did take a couple of tries to get the hats the right size, since our peg dolls are a different size than the ones she used. I also learned that it is possible to invent knitting stitches that will actually create something, just with a completely different texture. I always thought that if I knit or purled incorrectly, my knitting wouldn’t stay together, but with me having to switch back and forth between knitting and purling, I somehow started doing both stitches completely incorrectly. So I ended up with a hat that fit right and was shaped right, but had a completely different texture from the other two hats. I was very confused for a while!

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Labels: Arts and Crafts, Gnomes, Knitting, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Waldorf, Winter
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Happy 2013!

Happy 2013Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We enjoyed a simple and restful seasonal celebration, which left me feeling refreshed and revved up to start the new year. I did see a nephrologist during the break. She ran numerous tests and we are awaiting the results, but in the interim, she increased the amount of supplemental potassium that I am taking every day (it only comes in prescription form, so can only be done through a doctor). I cannot tell you how much better this small change has made me feel. I am no longer having constant muscle aches, spasms, and cramps. In addition, we figured out that the secret to keeping my headaches at bay is for me to drink a LOT of water as I was passing more water than I was taking in (I need to drink about 100 ounces per day to keep up with my kidneys). So while I am not feeling 100% myself, by a long shot, I am feeling so much better since I last posted!

I am never much of one for resolutions, but this year I do plan to focus on getting back to the basics. That’s back to the basics in my food choices, my personal care items, Dora’s toys, our household, and so forth. As I mentioned before, I am trying to eliminate any and all toxins from my life, in order to take some of the load off my kidneys. This will be a long term process, but I have made a pretty decent start thus far. One thing that is complicating this process is waiting to see my nephrologist again, as depending on what exactly is wrong with my kidneys, I may have to reduce unusual things, such as protein sources, from my diet.

As I have been focusing on simplifying our lifestyle, I have found myself drifting away from using the Montessori method with Dora and drifting towards a Waldorf-inspired method of home education. This process was given a great big nudge by having Secunda move back in with us and me subsequently losing my office/homeschooling room. Space became a major issue, but also, Dora just had no interest in doing any of the Montessori materials anymore and I finally got tired of trying to get her to do them. So, over the break, I sold ALL of our Montessori materials and invested in some Waldorf books and materials. The books are mostly for me to learn how to provide a Waldorf-inspired education to Dora, something I already knew a bit about. I needed very few materials for Dora, as I had already been heading in a Waldorf-direction for several months. In addition, I actually reduced the number of toys and arts and crafts materials we have on hand, as I now have a have a higher standard about what qualifies as non-toxic than I used to. Finally, when trying to emulate a Waldorf education, one usually tries to keep the environment simple and uncluttered. So, all in all, it seems like all aspects of my life are coming together in synch right now.

I only made one change to Gohan’s curriculum and that was to switch to Oak Meadow for his language arts. I did this to make things easier for me. I no longer have to plan out every component of his language arts curriculum, as Oak Meadow has already done this for me. He will be continuing with Teaching Textbooks for math and the Cartoon History of the World series for social studies. He takes science through our local homeschool co-op. He is also continuing with his two drama classes and Taekwondo. Honestly, he is maturing so quickly right now, it just blows my mind away. After years and years of dealing with his learning disabilities, it’s like a light bulb turned on and his brain is trying to make up for lost time. I doubt I could have started him with Oak Meadow in September. Now, not only can he do a pre-packaged curriculum, he is actually working at grade level in language arts for the first time in entire his life!

How about you? Have you made any major changes to your life or homeschool for the new year?

Labels: Peg Dolls, Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder, Waldorf
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

A Diagnosis, of Sorts…


In previous posts, I’ve referred to me having health problems. Since my early teens, I have had various episodes of bodily weirdness, such as recurrent fainting episodes, GI problems, etc. Nothing serious would ever show up on labs and either the symptoms would pass over time or I’d just learn to live with them. In the last two years, however, my health problems have started to have a bigger impact on my daily life, limiting my ability to exercise and so forth. Also, various labs have been coming back confusingly irregular, while others have indicated that I am in perfect health. Finally, my inability to maintain my potassium levels, despite heavy supplementation, earned me a trip to an endocrinologist. After one round of labs with him, he informed me that my kidneys are dumping huge amounts of potassium and that I either had Cushing’s or intrinsic kidney disease. Today, he called to let me know that I have intrinsic kidney disease and need to get into a nephrologist in a hurry.

I’m still having a little trouble believing that after three decades of ill health, I finally have a medically documented explanation. I’d kind of lost all faith in the medical community and am still waiting for a zinger, such as the nephrologist saying that I don’t actually have kidney disease and she doesn’t know what is wrong with me or how to help me (while seeming to hint that a psychiatrist would be my best bet). At the same time, I know this is not possible, I’ve just been too sick recently and no normal person could take as much potassium as I have been taking without suffering from hyperkalemia (multiple prescription-strength tablets per day).

Anyway, I’ve been holding off on writing about this, as I do get tired of saying, “I’ve been having health problems” and never really having an answer to exactly what those health problems are. I feel that I owe you, my readers, some sort of explanation, however, as I feel that the quality of my blogging has gone done hill recently, as I have battled with lack of energy and brain fog. I haven’t even been doing as good a job of reading and commenting on other blogs, much less keeping up with Pinterest or updating Twitter, G+, or Facebook. I intend to blog next week and then take off two weeks for Christmas, my birthday, Gohan’s birthday, and New Year’s. Hopefully 2013 will find me having renewed energy and brain power.

You may also notice some other changes with my blog, however, as the last few months have caused me to question my spirituality, my values, my reasons for homeschooling, what I have accomplished with my life, what I would like to accomplish with what life I have left, and so forth and so on. Hopefully I won’t get too weird on all of you, as I’ve been having more and more episodes of feeling like my brain has been going out to “la la land” lately. This is most likely due to the fact that my kidneys aren’t filtering out enough toxins, so my brain is being poisoned.

One thing that will definitely have to change in my life, and will therefore most likely change my blog’s direction, is that I will need to start eating a lot cleaner. It’s not like I was one of those people who rushed out to stock up on Ding Dongs before Hostess went out of business or anything, but it is my understanding that I will need to adhere to a fairly strict diet that will require that my food be organic, low in protein, and free of any added chemicals. I will also be working on discontinuing my use of hair color, cosmetics, commercial skin products, and so forth.

I’m sorry if this post is way too rambling, I just am trying to be up front about things, but my current brain fog is making it a bit hard to word things as ideally as I would like.

Labels: Peg Dolls, Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff