Seaside Gnomes :: Caleen

Seaside Gnomes :: Caleen

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Caleen was a shy and modest lass. She would have been surprised to hear how many of the young gnomes in the area were biding their time, hoping one day to make her his bride. If Caleen was prideful at all, it was of her long golden hair. It was straight and silky and the color of wheat. She brushed it often and worn it down, although most of the young maidens on the prairie braided their hair or wore it tucked into their hats.

When she meet Kristoff, he often complimented Caleen on her golden tresses. A peachy blush would cover her face, and she was delighted it pleased him so much.

Shortly after the couple were married, Kristoff took his young bride back to their seaside home which he had built for her. The sites and sounds of the ocean took Caleen’s breath away, and she was lulled to sleep that first night by the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore.

The next morning when Caleen awoke and began to brush her hair she was horrified. She unpacked a mirror from her trunk and stood wide eyed staring at herself and began to cry.

Kristoff awoke to the sounds of his young bride sobbing. He assumed she was home sick and wrapped his arms around her comfortingly.

“There, there, lass”, he said, “I know you miss your home but we can visit your brothers whenever you want.”

“It’s not that”, cried Caleen, “Look at my hair! Something happened to my hair!”

Sure enough, Caleen’s long silken tresses had turned into a million springs! Little ringlets circled her face and the whole of her hair seemed to have taken on a life of its own.

“That, dear lass”, he said with a bit of a smile, “is because of humidity, but don’t be distraught, I think your hair is just as beautiful as ever. It’s just become a wee bit more independent!”

Caleen was not one to wallow in self pity. She thought “Humidity” must be a mischievous fairy that had bewitched her hair! She pulled her hat on her head, adorned it with her string of pearls and took Kristoff’s hand.

“Come, husband”, she said. “Let’s take a walk along the beach. Perhaps we will run into Humidity and I can have a word with her about my hair!”

Kristoff smiled. Later he would explain about humidity to Caleen. In the meantime, he would enjoy his first stroll down the beach with his beautiful new bride with the springy hair!

A NOTE BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Unlike most of the peg dolls you’ve seen, these have bendable arms. I have tried many ways to secure arms in the past and they were all too bulky. Now, we drill holes through the pegs before we begin and it works like a charm. To the best of my knowledge you cannot buy wooden pegs pre-drilled. If you do not have the ability to drill a hole through the peg, you can try making the arms as 2 separate pieces and hot gluing them to the peg. I have never tried this so I don’t know how well it will work or if they will hold up to play. If you use that method please let us know how it works. ~Kimara~


IMPORTANT: There can be significant variations in the sizes of the wooden pegs even from the same manufacture and even in the same shipment! Cut pattern pieces out of paper first, and “try them on” your wooden pegs. Make adjustments to the paper pattern before cutting out your felt. This is especially true with the hat. Because the yarn you use for hair can be quite different, try the paper hat on the doll after the hair has been glued on. Make adjustments then.


NOTE: I made 2 identical dolls and was taking pictures of both as I made them. The order that I put the dolls together was different! If the photos seem a bit out of order that’s because I didn’t have complete photos for either! I am sharing photos from 2 different dolls put together in different ways, and  I didn’t have it in me to make a 3rd doll, so please ignore the discrepancy in the photos. You will notice this in the photos when I’m working on the hair and hat. The doll should not be wearing clothes yet! Sorry!)

Using a 3/16″ or 1/4″ drill bit, drill a hole through the peg right under the body curve at the neck.

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Cut pipe cleaner to 6 1/2″. Beginning at the center of the pipe cleaner and using 6 ply embroidery floss, begin wrapping the pipe cleaner from the center to one end. When you start, make sure to cover the end of the thread so it does not unwind. Try to cover most of the fuzzes on the pipe cleaner, but you will be making a second pass so don’t fret it some of the fuzzes stick out.

When you get to to end of the pipe cleaner do not cut the floss and re-wrap the pipe cleaner going back to the center and covering the floss you already wound around the pipe cleaner. Do not cut the tread.

Now do the same for the other half of the pipe cleaner and tie off when you return to the center. Leave the floss attached.

arms 1 Collage

Loosely fold the pipe cleaner in half.

Bring the two ends to the center and press the sides closely together.

Starting from the center, wrap down one of the sides towards the “hand”. You will be wrapping 2 sections of the pipe cleaner together.

arms 2 Collage

Leave a small amount of the arm unwrapped. This creates a “hand” and stops the thread from unraveling at the end.

Clip the thread leaving a 12″ tail. Thread a tapestry need that you can thread the 6 strands of floss through.

Slide the needle between the 2 sections of pipe cleaners and under the thread you just wrapped them with. Work your way up the arm and when you are about halfway up the arm, clip off the extra thread close to the arm.

arms 3 Collage

Attach more floss to the center and wrap the other side in the same manner.

With the arms held straight, guide them through the hole in the peg so the middle is positioned in the middle of the body.

Bring the arms forward until they are the same length.

arms 4 Collage

I usually do not add faces to our peg dolls, but if you want to, paint a face on now. You can read about adding a face HERE.

Place a little glue on the arms at the body. This will stop them from pulling out with play.

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To add the hair, begin by wrapping the yarn around a piece of cardboard, book, etc. I wrapped my yarn around a 5″ planner. I did 20 complete wraps. Make adjustments if you are using thicker or thinner yarn.

Before cutting your end loops, tape your hair to a surface using painter’s tape. (TIP: I use painter’s tape because it comes off the yarn easily when you are done. If you are using regular scotch tape, place tape on a fuzzy surface first, like a towel or sweater. This will make the tape less sticky.) Place the tape so the center of the yarn bundle is exposed. The width of the yarn bundle should be around 1″. Wrap the tape around the yarn maintaining the 1″ width.

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Using 6 strands of floss the same color as the yarn, back stitch across the center of the hair, making sure to go all the way through all the layers of yarn. This will be the center part.

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When you are all the way across, on the backside of the hair, tie off your thread and clip. Remove the tape and cut the loops at the end of the hair.

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Place glue on the peg doll’s head where you want your hair.

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Position the hair in place and hold for a minute while the glue begins to set up.

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Cut hat out of paper and try on the doll. Make adjustments if necessary. Then cut your hat out of felt. Start at the bottom of the hat using 2 strands of matching floss and a running stitch. Stop half way up and lock your stitch. (Just go over your last running stitch.

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Finish sewing up to the top of the hat. DO NOT cut the thread or tie off.

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Gently pull on the thread so the top of the hat gathers. The locking stitch you put in should stop the bottom of the hat from gathering. Tie off the thread and clip.

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Dry fit the hat on the doll so you know how you want to position it. Then, place a bead of glue around the inside of the hat near the edge.

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Position the hat on your gnome and hold in place for a minute until the glue sets a bit.

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Cut out dress and add embellishments. To make the apron I simply cut out a piece of fabric 1 1/2″ x 1″. I turned under the top 1/4″ and unraveled the sides and bottom a few threads. I then sewed the apron to the dress using a running stitch. I added the lace to the arms using a running stitch making sure the lace overlapped the sleeve edges.

Decorate the dress any way that you want!

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Bring the wrong sides of the dress together, and using 2 strands of floss, blanket stitch together using a 1/16″ seam. Make sure you keep the seam small or the dress will not fit.

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Slip the dress on the doll and using an overcast stitch, sew up the back.

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If you would like to further embellish your doll. I added a lace belt, sewing it on just on the back.

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Finally, I created a pearl necklace using string beading. I tried it on the hat, cut it 2 beads too long, and overlapped these 2 beads. I tacked the necklace together.

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I slipped the necklace over her hat and tacked it on.

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When your doll is done, trim any wayward hairs and your seaside gnome is ready to hit the beach!

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  1. It’s great that the gnomes have arms – thank you for sharing the tutorial.

    1. Kimara

      It takes a little more work but I have found as the wee ones got older they really wanted to gnomes to be a little bit more realistic 🙂 ~KImara~

  2. I like the method you used to attach arms to your gnome! I used that exact same method 5 years ago, when I made my first lady gnome. I made her sleeves separately, and just slipped them onto her arms, then tacked the sleeves to her dress. Isn’t it wonderful how we figure things out for our dolls? Great minds think alike! I love Caleen’s apron, and lacy embellishments to her dress! Thank you so much for the tutorial! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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