Yes, You Definitely Need a Gnome For Your Cabin. Here’s Why:

Whenever I arrive at the cabin, before unloading our duffel bags and the cold-chest out of the back of the Jeep, I walk the barely-there path to the screen door and simultaneously reach for its handle and bend down to pat Woody on his little pointy head. Woody sits outside the porch, just to the right of the screen door, and his head is smooth and welcoming like he has happily weathered storms while keeping watch over our happy place.

Mike will tell you that gnomes are a decorative accessory and I should stop buying them. But every time I pat that pointy head, I feel safe and happy and very, very welcomed. And history tells me I’m right.

I recently bought this little guy:

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. . . and he’s been waiting for cabin season, perched on top of book mountain. When he goes to the cabin, he will be welcomed by Woody, Yellow Gnome, Gus and Bjorn —

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— a little family of watchers.

 

When we were little cabin dreamers, we called a gnome a Tomten because of this book.

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The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren came out at Christmas time and it scared me because it was dark and ghostly and the Tomten secretly visited sleeping farm animals in the middle of the night. He was a little grumpy and disheveled but he took good care of the cows and the farm cats and even the children so, even though he scared me, I liked him.

According to tradition, the tomten lives in the houses and barns of the farmstead, and secretly acts as a guardian. If treated well, he will protect the family and the animals from evil and misfortune. He might even help out with some chores (dear gnome, clean mouse traps, please). However, they are also known to be short tempered, especially when offended.They are easily put off by lazy farmers and a careless lack of proper respect  — much like the native Minnesotans, don’t ya know. They will not under any circumstances tolerate rudeness, like swearing or urinating in the barn or mistreating your animals; this could result in a hard strike to the ear.

So, seriously, don’t mess with your gnome. And if you spill something on the floor, it is considered good manners to shout a warning to the gnome below. As in, “watch out, Woody!” If you don’t, you might spend half the day looking for your glasses when you just saw them RIGHT THERE! That, friends, is your gnome talking. Just be a good person, and your gnome will take care of you. I promise.


 

Some gnome words for your enjoyment:

 

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In Swedish, gårdbo, or “farmyard dweller.”

 

 

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In Norwegian, gardvord, meaning “yard warden.”

 

 

 

 

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In Finland, he is mostly known as joulupukki, or “Yule Goat.”

 

Don’t you think you need a Yule Goat this Christmas? Giving you the finger? I know I do.

 

My shiny gold yule goat, sitting atop book mountain, has not yet been named. If you have any suggestions for this newest member of our cabin-watching team, give me a holler, y’all.

 

 

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“Troll Wondering How Old He Is” by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen

 

 

Stuff I Bought For My Cabin Because I Miss it.

So now I’m totally outed because my husband hasn’t seen any of this stuff and he’s probably opening this post and going “What the @*&!?” I’ve been squirreling away my stash in a special cabin hiding spot all winter so I wouldn’t scare him or invite any sort of scolding about things we don’t NEED. Which would inevitably lead to a huge argument because everyone knows that every cabin needs a yellow gnome but he’s going to claim that he’s never heard that and then I’ll be like “What? Were you born in a BARN?” Here’s a rundown of the winter booty:

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   817JywcPyiL._SL1500_  Heath Ceramics Dish Towels, Charley Harper Front Facing Fish Tea TowelNow Designs Fishies Towel

Why so many dishtowels? Well…..that I don’t know. I wasn’t even aware that I’d purchased so many dishtowels until I pulled them out of the secret cabin stash today. And I don’t even use dishtowels on a regular basis because that would involve drying dishes, something I find happens naturally if I just leave stuff on top of the stove and walk away. I think drying dishes is for people who can’t sit still…which is not a problem for me. So the dishtowels are a mystery. Except that they’re pretty and I want to look at them. Okay, mystery solved. Thank you for the minute-therapy.

 

 

          

Arrow Wall Hooks from CB2

Are you lacking in storage? HOOKS! I will use hooks for jackets, jammies, towels, dishtowels (just for looking at, of course), cabin clothes, book bags, fly swatters, art (use clip-on curtain rings!) and…drum roll, please…this brilliant idea: 5f8d1bfcad00a067c1fcfd4bd5adb875

Extra seating for our dining table can be folded and stored on the wall just like art. Every cabin needs a splash of red.

 

 

  

Woven Arrow Stripe Pillow Covers from West Elm

For me, a room isn’t finished without pillows. I see a couch with no pillows and I have to look away, like it’s reminding of that time I spent in prison. Mike doesn’t understand pillows and he takes them off so he can sit comfortably. Then I sit down after he leaves and scream “WHERE’S MY PILLOW!” I need more cush (koosh?) in my life. More cush, more color and more pattern; I only have so much wall space and there’s so much beauty in the world – I want all of it! –  so pillows become another artspace. These pillow covers from West Elm have a Scandirondack feel – I’m totally trademarking that. They are part Scandinavian, part Adirondack and they are oh so cabin.

    

      Elka Bowls from Anthropologie

Because the Anthro ladies were getting tired of me fondling them on my weekly visits. We go through bowls quickly at the cabin because of something called “cabin dip,” a special recipe that Liam makes all by himself involving a delicate mixture of salsa and Hellman’s Real Mayonaise. I’m just glad he’s finally eating vegetables.

 

  Foxgloves Gauntlet

For weeding! Duh! Because, once again, I am a Badass Weeder. I was traveling with two friends in San Francisco recently and they saw these gardening gloves while shopping at the Ferry Building. Together they grabbed the gloves and started shouting in unison, “KRISTIN! YOU NEED THESE FOR YOUR WEIRD OBSESSION WITH WEEDING!!” And though they are not natural born shoppers and can live without almost all the things, they wouldn’t let me leave the store without them. See the extra long thorn guards?! It’s just that important.

  Resplendent Flatware from Anthropologie

I had visions of collecting mismatched sets of vintage utensils but I couldn’t get over the thought that they’d been in a dead person’s mouth. So I got this brand new set from Anthropologie instead. Then I found out that Anthro has their own set of vintage mismatched collected utensils!

 

And I’m sure Anthro has a killer sanitizing machine (please help me with the name of that thing) or they wouldn’t be able to sell them in US markets so I’m considering an exchange. Although even the best sanitizing machine can’t wash away bad karma. 

Gnomes (from Home Goods. Who knew?) Who can resist a yellow gnome!? He will hide in the forest somewhere, nestled behind a silvery birch tree. Woody will welcome us at the front door.

 

 

Vintage Canoe Paddle from Grace & co.

The beauty of this canoe paddle is its unusual size (shorty) and its roughed-up condition. A shiny new canoe paddle may look too intentional, like “I bought this cabin-themed artifact to display as a completely un-ironic nod to cabin decor.”  Instead, the patina makes this a found object with a soul (and unlike utensils, it probably hasn’t been in someone’s mouth) and the funny shape makes it unique and, therefore, more fun to look at. I’m considering using it as a door handle on the screen door.

 

 

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Kikkerland Log Microbead Pillow

Liam has been begging me for this log pillow all winter; he finally figured out that I’ll cave if he adds the words “for the cabin” at the end of all of his requests. These are squishy and oddly smooth and just soft enough to be like a lovey but weird enough to be like a lovey for teenagers.

 

 

 

 

il_570xN.736813652_j8b3 il_570xN.736377628_n46p Drink the Wild Air Art Print by WillowAndOlive “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”                                            ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I will be waiting by my front door today until this arrives from Etsy.

 

As the weather warms, and we approach “opening day,” it feels good to pull these things out and prepare them for their new home. The countdown is on…