Thursday, December 27, 2012

Give-away Knitting Patterns!

Give-away from Mamma4Earth!

Welcome to Linda Dawkins!  

"I have always loved knitting, my mom taught me to knit when I was 5 years old. When she was younger she knitted cricket jerseys for all of her brothers. I used to often see her knitting when I was little, she knitted us a variety of clothing including our royal blue jerseys for school, these were the softest jerseys, so much softer than the shop bought ones. One day I asked her if she could show me how to knit and she did. She gave me two short, size 4mm knitting needles and a ball of blue double knitting wool. I can remember that day clearly. I was always encouraged to try and knit her projects that she was busy with, this was wonderful because I managed to master some complicated patterns and knitting terminology at a young age and she always helped me along the way. I attended a Catholic convent school while growing up and knitting was a part of our curriculum, there were new projects to make for school each year and when I was older I started to knit more advanced items. The first jersey I knitted was a cabled design, I was 18 years old and I still have that jersey today.
After my husband and I had children, I studied to be a Montessori preschool teacher, I taught for a few years and then after the birth of our fourth child, Kye, we decided that I would no longer work but rather homeschool our children. I discovered the wonderful world of Waldorf education with all its beautiful natural toys and this is when I started knitting toys. At first, I just knitted them because toy patterns were so adorable but then I felt a change developing. A few months later, Mamma4earth, our family business, was born and has been growing each year since 2008. I began to really start looking at animals, I noticed that when I encountered an animal or bird I would often study its shape and see the curves and bulk of its body. I would watch its movement and grace. I would calculate the stitches in my mind and see the animal become a knitted creation in my mind's eye. The design usually marinades within my consciousness for a few days and then I begin the pattern writing and designing process. When I start to write a pattern, I usually continue writing until I am finished, I seldom start designing and finish later, this tends to break the flow of my thoughts. Often I wake early in the morning and while my eyes are still closed, I think of a new design, this is one of the most exciting aspects of my creative process. I love how my thoughts eventually fall into place and a new creature takes form... My inspiration stems from my beautiful family and the wildlife that we are surrounded by in this lovely country of ours. 
My family and I live in South Africa, we have a suburban homestead where we grow veggies and fruit and live a sustainable lifestyle. We have a whole troop of chickens, rabbits, cats, birds, fish and our newest pet that seems almost human at times... a Labrador called Sandy. I often write about our life on our blog called Natural Suburbia. You can find my patterns for sale on Etsy, my Craftsy Shop and my Ravelry Store.
The winner will receive 8 patterns of their choice!  
Entries include leaving a comment on the Natural Suburbia blog, "Like"ing Mamm4earth Facebook page, Repinning a Mamma4earth pattern image on Pinterest, Following Mamma4earth on Twitter, adding Mamma4earth as a friend on Ravelry, or purchasing something from the Mamm4earth Etsy shop.   That's up to 6 opportunities to win!  

Email us at: by December 31 to let us know about your entries. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

So Grateful....

During this time of Thanksgiving through Advent, we stop to pause and think about what we are grateful for...

A beautiful Thanksgiving Day celebration with family on both sides.

Healthy, happy children.

Living in a beautiful city that is safe, full of nature and arts and so much more.

Being able to express ourselves artistically.

Have the freedom to choose the best way to educate our children as they grow.

Giving birth at home blissfully.

Being surrounded by musical instruments...and yarn!

Having jobs that we absolutely love...teaching, consulting, music, workshops, weddings.

Enjoying our adventure as a couple over the past 24 years.

What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blessingway - Rhythm of the Home

Our article about having a Blessingway is featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Rhythm of the Home magazine!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Autumn Gardening!

Gardening in the Autumn can be tricky in Northern California. Sometimes, the heat continues through October making it hard to pull out the tomatoes, peppers and basil. Other weeks, it is cool and crisp and feels like time to plant greens and root veggies.  Here we are back in early September, planning the garden plots after pulling out most of the summer veggies.

We select a garden plot each year to fill with a cover crop, like fava beans, to provide nutrients to the soil.  Hopefully, the beans and peas will grow up into our handmade tepees from branches that our neighbors cut down. Grow, little fava beans!

Adding sweet soil from the bottom of our compost pile helps revive the raised garden beds. Our compost pile is hidden by the fence near our meditation spiral.  The spiral is filled with new golden leaves each morning!  This is the view from our bedroom window each morning.

We have learned that certain crops just do not grow well from seed here, so we plant some seedlings -- broccoli, onions and cauliflower.  The garden gnome watches over our progress.

We are going to add some flowers for beauty and color to invite the elementals to stay! Sometimes, we do better planting in pots and barrels like this one, filled with celery, strawberries, pansies and nasturtiums.
Time to sing as we garden!

I dig, dig, dig
And plant some seeds
I rake, rake, rake
And pull some weeds
I bend and watch
And soon I know
My garden sprouts
And starts to grow!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homeschool Kindergarten

The Waldorf Connection is celebrating “Kindergarten Month” during October. They are offering simple & practical ways to bring this method of “learning” into your home. Giveaways, contests, video tips and a community forum- all FREE!

Click t
he link below and immediately get a free audio on the senses in young children. On Monday, October 15th there will be a free workshop with Christine Goodale about the benefits of letting our children "play".

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gnome Doll Giveaway!

Lindpen the Gnome

This little gnome loves children. He loves to play with them, soothe them, and whisper quiet stories only they can hear. Like other Nalina's toys, this gnome is open-ended toy. It supports your child's growing curiosity, and imagination, giving her great tactile experience. She can touch it's warm body, smell it, even taste it.  He is about 7.5 inch tall (15 with his cap on). Cap is sewn on.  Lindpen will have a winter-themed outfit.

Receive up to six chances to win this adorable gnome by any or all of the following:
1. "Like" our Facebook page: 
2. "Like" Nalina's page:  
3.  Follow our blog:
4.  Follow Nalin'as blog: 
5.  Visit and heart our Etsy shop:
6.  Visit and heart Nalina's Etsy shop: 

Email us at and let us know what you did and we will enter your name!  Drawing will be held on October 20.  Winner will be announced in our November newsletter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Boosting our Creativity - Reorganizing the Craft Room

This past month, we took all of our craft supplies outside and reorganized our craft/music room! A daunting task, but one that has freed up space and created an energy flow, giving us a "boost".

On a daily basis, we are in this wonderful room, filled with art supplies, fiber arts tools, musical instruments, and a work table that Rick built years ago.

There is even space for a silk fort!

Now, our craft magazines, music, patterns are in files. We can quickly locate yarn by color. Art supplies are organized and easy to reach. 

We can find what we need for fiber arts workshops, lessons and sales. The room has a sink and a door to the backyard...both practical elements for painting and dyeing.

To keep from spending a fortune on this endeavor, we spent $30 at the local thrift store, getting baskets and magazine holders. We pulled out old food jars and wood bowls. We did splurge on chalkboard labels from Bradens Grace on Etsy to label the nooks, baskets and jars, and love that we can reuse them over the years.

We love this hanging fruit basket that we found at the thrift store.  Perfect for little balls of yarn!

Bits of leftover roving get their own space and baskets and can be used for felting or carding batts for spinning up Junkyard Fairy yarn.

And, we finally have a place to put our works "in progress".  It is much easier and neater to grab a basket full of supplies for the doll that we are sewing or the gnome that we are knitting when the supplies are all together.  

Space for the drum set and keyboard, various guitars, as well as our work desk and computer was carved out. There was space for one spinning wheel, but not our floor loom or second wheel.  So...perhaps the ultimate room would need to be an entire house for just crafts, music and art?  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September Newsletter is Out!

Come and visit our September Newsletter, and sign up to receive our free monthly e-newsletters.  We feature resources and a coupon each month for homeschoolers, Waldorf schoolers, fiber artists and more!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Indoor Shoes - Felting Wool Slippers

Taking off our shoes at the door and putting on cozy felted slippers inside is a wonderful tradition to add to the home or school day.

We love to felt our own "indoor shoes". We make new ones or mend old ones each summer.

Three summers ago, mommy made herself an elfin sunflower pair from plant dyed wools while at a handwork conference at Steiner College. Then, Joey made herself a taller pair, wet felting and needle felting designs on them. Two summers ago, Wilson made a pair with just two layers, and they only lasted the year before getting holes.

Last summer, Wilson and mommy made a new pair with more layers. They are still in great shape, so we mended the leather bottoms and needle felted "W"s on the sides to spiff them up!

Next, we need to make a pair for Daddy for Christmas! Wet felting takes time and effort, but the end result is so rewarding. For more details on how to make these indoor shoes, click here for our Etsy shop to purchase our eBook.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Making a Gnome Calendar

It has been a crafty summer here at Syrendell!  

We spent an inspired weekend at the Griffin Dyeworks Dye and Fiber Retreat in Castaic, CA.  Camping, spinning, teaching Tunisian crochet, weaving, dyeing, coppersmithing and so much more!  Truly a treat for all people interested in learning more about fiber arts in a relaxed setting. 

Next, we spent 4 weeks teaching, leading and assisting at the Davis Waldorf School Summergarden camp.  Week 1: Knitting, crochet, lucet; Week 2: Spinning, weaving, kumihimo; Week 3: Plant-dyeing, wetfelting, needlefelting; Week 4: Papercrafting and sewing.  Children also participated in gardening and wholesome food preparation.  

Now, we are enjoying crafting at home.  Joey is spinning yarn to earn $ for her upcoming 8th grade trip.  Her yarns are available at and by custom order (email:  Ricky has been helping get our craft/music room reorganized (a thrilling and scary task!).  

Wilson and Mommy created a calendar with gnomes.  This was inspired by one that we had seen made by Mama Roots a while back, one of our favorite Etsy shops.  First, we ordered a wood ring from Joshua Rutherford of Honoring Fallen Trees.  He makes them out of beautiful hardwoods in different colors.  We chose maple.  Next, we selected 12 special little wood people.  We talked about the 12 months of the year, the 4 seasons, and the colors and symbols that represent the seasons.  

Next, Wilson chose colored pieces of felt for each month and matching embroidery threads.  With some embroidery assistance from Mommy and sister Joey, little gnome hats were sewn.  

Wilson painted the gnomes the color of each season and then sealed them with beeswax polish as they dried.  Hats were glued onto the gnomes.  Now, we will play games, tell stories, create math problems, and talk about the months of the year in Spanish and English with our beautiful gnome calendar!