Swedish Tomten Inspired Wooden Peg Doll Tutorial

As promised on Instagram, here is my step-by-step tutorial on how to make your very own DIY Swedish tomten!  I made any army of these cute little guys for our Waldorf school’s Winter Wonderland Faire. Some went into the Angel Room and some of them were sold in little Christmas scenes on wood slices with needle-felted Christmas trees.

Ok, so first things first. You will need to gather your supplies!

You will need:

  • a wooden peg doll (like these)
  • red felt
  • a small wooden bead
  • 1″ white faux fur trim (I think I got mine at Joann Fabric)
  • white embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • scissors
  • hot glue
  • jewelry needlenose pliers
  • jewelry wire cutters

Ok, let’s do this! 🙂

  1. Start by cutting your felt so that you have a triangle and a square. These are the dimensions I used:

2. Using your white embroidery floss, blanket stitch around the bottom edge of the triangle, which will be the hat. Do the same for the bottom long edge of the rectangle. Need help with blanket stitching? I have a blanket stitching tutorial here.

Then find the center of the hat and a little ways above the blanket stitching, embroider a simple star. I do this by making a lower case t shape, then making an “x” in the middle. Need help with embroidery? I have a simple embroidery tutorial here.

Then fold the hat in half long ways and stitch from the upper tip down to the blanket stitched edge. Now you have a hat! Stitch up the rectangular piece as well so you have a little tube for your Tomten. Slide the tube over your wooden peg so it is now wearing clothes. 😀

3. Cut a strip of white craft fur and remove any hairs which are no longer secured so they don’t shed. The length is up to you. You can see that I played with various lengths for my tomtens. Add a bit of hot glue to the lower part of your peg doll’s face and secure the fur beard.

4. Add a little bit of glue to the inside edges of your felt hat and secure to the gnome so that the top edge of the fur is hidden inside of the hat.

5. To make the nose, take your wooden bead and carefully cut it in half using your wire cutters. I like to do this so that the holes are lined up with the cutters.






Using the needle nose pliers (so you don’t burn yourself) hold one of the bead halves with the cut side exposed and add a tiny dab of hot glue, then secure the half bead so it is glued to the beard right under the hat. These make the cutest little noses! If you want bigger noses, use bigger beads. 🙂

That’s it! Easy, right? I was able to make a whole bunch of these in a couple of mornings. Each has its own little personality. I love them so much and I’m totally making more when I have time!

Enjoy! And if you make your own using this tutorial, be sure to post your results on Instagram and tag me @crystalsilvas. Merry Christmas, friends!


Autumn Chat ‘n Craft and musings on being part of Sanderling Waldorf School

When our family joined our local Waldorf school four years ago, one of the things that really attracted me was the deep sense of community, and the warm way in which we were not just welcomed with open arms, but genuinely embraced as though we had been there for years and years; it felt amazing.

Another thing that really drew me in was the way they appealed to my artsy side. To be a part of a Waldorf school is to be immersed in a world of reverence and beauty, a celebration of the natural world in all of its glory. Everything is deliberate, from the colors of the walls in each grade’s classroom, to the way that only certain materials are used in play.

We were a homeschooling family, but after attending a free puppet show the school put on for the community, we were sold. That probably sounds silly, but that one little puppet play—in all of its simplicity—suggested to me that this style of education was more than meets the eye. (Spoiler alert: it is.) On our walk back to the car, Jeffrey bean (who was 5 at the time) said, “Mommy, can I PLEASE go to school here in September?” The thought had actually occurred to me too.

When we looked into Waldorf, it was right in line with our values. Some of the philosophies were foreign to us (ie: holding off on learning to read, especially since Jeffrey started reading in his toddler years) but it all made sense and it just felt…right. I really can’t explain it. It just felt right in my gut. It was a more of a knowing.

Long story short, we ended up enrolling at Sanderling and haven’t looked back. When I was brand new Waldorf mom, I was invited to attend a parents’ group called Chat ‘n Craft where we got to learn the ways of Waldorf arts and crafts. This style of crafting using natural materials like sticks, acorn caps foraged from beneath the trees, naturally dyed silks and wools really appealed to me. It reminded me of a simpler time, like my childhood summer vacations when my mom would snuggle my sister and I and we would read the whole Little House in the Prairie box set and then takes naps.

After a year of attending as a guest, as I was asked by the veteran Chat ‘n Craft mama if I might be able to take over as the lead, to which I gave a nervous but enthusiastic “YES!” I have been carrying on the tradition at Sanderling Waldorf since, with the help of said veteran mama of course.

This morning we had our first Chat ‘n Craft meeting of the year, and it was sooo good to sit with fellow mamas and talk and vent and sew and needlefelt and share and laugh at our silly mistakes and just BE, in the present moment, together. So, so good.

We worked on sweet little autumn inspired treasures for a store we’ll open at an upcoming musical event with local children’s group Hullaballoo.

We needlefelted apples and sewed squashy little pumpkins. We made gnomes, each with its own personality. We embroidered leafy, woolen beds for sleepy nature sprite babies. We even made fairy dust necklaces. And it was glorious.

I am planning on sharing tutorials for some of the darling things we created this morning, but for now you can enjoy some photos. 🙂

Hand sewn harvest pumpkins
Sweet wooden peg babies with acorn caps, nestled in leafy woolen beds
I loooooove these needle felted apples!
And of course, we are Waldorf, so we have to have gnomes. 😉

Magical, right? Thanks so much for visiting with me while I rambled on about how much I love Waldorf education and arts and crafts and magic and gnomes. Sometimes I do that. 😉 Until next time my friends.

Cinnamon Applesauce Gingerbread Ornament Tutorial

Every year a bunch of our school’s parents gather together to make handmade gifts for all of the teachers and faculty members.  For the past couple of years I have been our school’s Chat ‘n Craft lady, and this year I remembered a beloved Christmas craft from my own childhood, and one that I did with my kids back when I home schooled them.

We made 50 or so cinnamon applesauce gingerbread person ornaments!  These are so fun to make and so easy.  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce (I got mine at the dollar store since we’re not eating these)
  • 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon (again, the dollar store is your friend here)
  • 2 Tbsp of craft glue, such as Elmer’s
  • large mixing bowl
  • disposable drinking straw
  • rolling pin
  • gingerbread men cookie cutters
  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • cookie cutters
  • access to an oven
  • acrylic or puffy paints for decorating
  • red and white baker’s twine for hanging

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the applesauce, glue and cinnamon with your hands until you have a dough that is just slightly dry.  You may need to add more applesauce or cinnamon, depending on how wet or dry it is.

Once your dough is a good consistency, separate it into workable chunks by making a few balls of dough.  On a smooth surface, roll out the dough until it’s totally smooth and about 1/3″ thick.  If you roll it too thin your ornaments will be fragile and will break when they’re stored. Ask me how I know. 🙁

Now we cut our shapes!  Once you’ve cut your shapes, use a straw to create a small hole near the the top of the ornament. This is where you’ll thread your twine so you can hang these after they’ve baked.

Then bake these on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper at 200º F for about 2 1/2 hours or until the gingerbread men are hardened and dry.

Allow them to cool completely.

Then the fun part!  Use your paints to make cute little faces on them.  Use your imagination!  I wanted more sophisticated ones since I am gifting these to faculty, so I just used black, white and red acrylic paints with fine tip paint brushes.  Allow these to dry completely and then use pieces of baker’s twine through the holes and hang them!

Aren’t they cute?!

These ornaments will last indefinitely, or at least I think so; my mom still has the ones my sister and I made in the early 1990s!  If you want you can take a Sharpie and write the year on the back.  These smell SO amazing and they make really great gifts.  As with the felt Christmas tree ornaments, these would also make cute gift toppers, in lieu of or in addition to bows.  I hope you have so much fun with this!

Felt Christmas Tree Ornament Tutorial

A few years ago, a mama at our Waldorf school led a Chat ‘n Craft for us where she taught us how to make these adorable felt Christmas tree ornaments from felt circles, embroidery floss, buttons and wooden beads.  They were so cute and so simple!  Several of us gathered together one winter morning and made one for every teacher and faculty member of our little school.  Flash forward to now and *I* am our school’s Chat ‘n Craft lady.

I was asked to come up with a fun and simple craft for our school’s table at Magical Child’s annual holiday party, one that kids could easily handle.  This adorable craft immediately came to mind and my family came along with me while I taught a bunch of people to make these just outside of the boutique.

It occurred to me that my readers might want to try this craft too, so here is a step by step tutorial for you!  🙂

First, gather your materials.  You will need:

  • 10 felt circles of 4 or 5 different sizes.  This doesn’t need to be perfect. I used my Sizzix circle cutter die, but you could trace round objects just as easily
  • 12″ of embroidery floss
  • a craft needle with an eye large enough for the floss
  • 5-6 2 or 4 holed buttons
  • a small star cut from thick wool felt (I got mine from Michael’s)
  • 1 half inch wooden bead

Using your needle and embroidery floss, thread the wooden bead so that it ends up in the center of the floss.  Then remove your thread from the needle and thread BOTH ends of the thread through the needle.  A needle threader makes easier work of this.

Find the center of your largest felt circle and push your needle and both ends of the thread all the way through it.

Before adding your next largest circle, use one of your buttons as a spacer in between your layers. This stretches out your tree a bit and makes it more interesting.

Continue adding your circles, adding button spacers between some of the layers.  You don’t have to do it between every layer. Have fun with this. Continue until your smallest felt circle is at the tippy top.

Now it’s time to put the star on top! You’ll want a star (or any shape you want, really) that is cut from thick wool felt so that it is thick enough to go up through the star. (See photo above.)  If you can’t find thick felt or don’t want to use it, get creative and use a pretty button or bead to top your tree instead! Once your thread has been pulled all the way through, make a knot at the very top and hang your ornament from a tree.  Methinks it would even make a cute decoration for the top of a present.  Bonus: if you have an artificial Christmas tree and miss the real tree smell, this cute ornament can even double as a hanging diffuser for some Idaho balsam fir essential oil!

I hope you and your kidlets make a bunch of these!  If you do, feel free to let me know in the comments, or tag me in your photos on Instagram.  Thanks for reading!  Until next time…

Today I organized my sewing and craft room, squeee!

Today I tidied up my sewing and craft room aka my woman cave aka our garage.  Squeeee!  I am so excited you guys.  This was a long, long, LONG time coming.  Now I can sew in a pretty space.  🙂  Let’s see how long I can keep it like this, ha!  Neatness does not come naturally to me, unfortunately.  That is all.  Have a fun day, friends!