Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home

Little Homes for Little Folks
By Alethea Morrison of North Adams, MA

(Photo credits: Mars Vilaubi)

As a child, I would try to make gnome houses out of twigs and moss, always with rather disappointing results, but one of the best things about being a parent is getting to relive parts of your childhood with the skills of an adult. The opportunity to try my hand again at building a miniature house presented itself when our favorite neighbor cleared some trees in the woods. My son Xavier was distressed for the scores of Bwidgewits who were surely displaced. We sprang into action, building a lodge for them out of scrap bricks and slate and covering it with moss. It wasn’t half bad for a first effort.

Then I discovered the Storey book Nature’s Art Box, which has projects for crafting things from natural materials, including directions for some little houses made from bark and twigs and moss. This was going to be a dream come true for me. At the first blush of spring, my son and I collected materials, then dried the soggy wood in the garage for a few weeks. When it was ready, we assembled our toolbox, including the secret weapon not available to me as a kid — a hot glue gun.

  • The first step was to cut the walls. The directions indicated garden clippers should be used, but my bark was pretty thick, and I ended up using a bow saw.
  • Then I used my friend the glue gun to bind the walls together. Bark doesn’t have very straight edges, so for a greater area of contact, I taped the joints using thin sheets of birch bark.
  • Twigs, also hot-glued for adhesion, make a roof.
  • A carpet of moss over the roof makes it look so much homier.
  • The pine-cone chimney was Xavier’s idea and, in my opinion, was a stroke of genius.
  • The moss door makes the house Greyling-proof, since they are afraid of moss and other lovely things.
  • We added a pine-cone door knob, too.
  • Xavier wanted the door to be able to swing open, which I thought was a pretty tall order, but the moss was already attached to thin, flexible bark, and it wasn’t so hard after all.
  • Nature’s Art Box also had directions for some miniature furnishings, which we made to fit into the house.

Within a week, we were very gratified to see a bunny come to visit the house and whisper through the walls to the Bwidgewits. Was he soliciting advice and protection, passing along gossip, or maybe just asking permission to eat the hay we lay in front of the little house over new grass seed? If only we knew.


Alethea Morrison is the Creative Director for Storey Publishing, a local publisher based out of North Adams, MA.  Storey has been publishing wonderful how-to books on do-it-yourself titles that are down-to-earth and always inspiring for over 25 years!  Topics range from gardening, cooking, crafts, nature science, animal care, farming, traditional skills and home improvement.  Read Alethea’s other blog posts at Inside Storey, the online community of Storey Publishing.

Win Three Seasonal Titles From Storey Publishing (Deadline 10/21/09)

Win 3 Seasonal Titles: Pumpkins, Cider and Apples
From Storey Publishing

Hilltown Families and Storey Publishing have partnered up to offer a chance to win three seasonal titles:

  • The Perfect Pumpkin: Growing, Cooking, Carving by Gail Damerow
  • Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider (3rd Ed.) by Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols
  • Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier

Find out how to enter to win below.


Storey Publishing is a local publisher based out of North Adams, MA.  They have been publishing wonderful how-to books on do-it-yourself titles that are down-to-earth and always inspiring for over 25 years!  Topics range from gardening, cooking, crafts, nature science, animal care, farming, traditional skills and home improvement.

Over the years my personal library has included many of their titles that are now dog-eared and well worn from reading and referencing; including: Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, Gail Damerow’s Barnyard in Your Backyard, Mike & Nancy Bubel’s Root Cellering and Phyliss Hobson’s Making & Using Dried Foods.  All great titles I’ve referenced either for family minor illnesses, the best way to raise our small backyard flock of chickens, how to put up onions and cabbage from the farmer’s market for the winter, and advice on dehydrating culinary herbs and locally picked apples. Discover their upcoming releases here.  Each title is packed with fresh new ideas about gardening, horses, cooking, crafts, livestock, building, and more!


    Gail Damerow has written a great book for harvesting and growing nearly 100 varieties of pumpkins!  I had no idea there were that than many!  Her book, The Perfect Pumpkin: Growing, Cooking, Carving, includes advise on how to grow and harvest pumpkins (including those gigantic ones we see at the county fairs!), step-by-step craft and carving projects, delectable recipes (like pumpkin brioche and pumpkin ale!) and even tips one how to put up pumpkin for winter storage.
    How do you make great cider? All you need is an apple. And a few other things … Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols offer thorough coverage of every step of cider making, from choosing and planting the best apple varieties to enjoying the finished product in their book Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider. Recipes include sweet and hard ciders, sparkling cider blends, and cider-based foods. In this book you’ll also find directions on how to build a working apple press, and bits of history and lore.
    Want to turn your apples into gourmet cooked dishes to accompany a glass of hard cider? Olwen Woodier offers over 140 apple recipes for to serve up apples for breakfast, lunch and dinner in her book, Apple Cookbook. She also offers descriptions of the general characteristics of many popular and heirloom varieties of apples along with a diagram that charts their best uses.


Your chance to win these three seasonal titles from Storey Publishing is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, 10/21/09 @ 7pm (EST).

To check out other fine titles by Storey Publishing, visit them on-line at

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