For the Love of Gnome

Gnomes are often depicted as jovial little men wearing red hats and a wide belt. The iconic red gnome cap is a folklore detail that originates from ancient Mediterranean fisherman tradition. The fisherman would wear white hats at night if they wanted to be seen in the dark, and red hats if they did not. According to folklore, gnomes prefer to stay hidden, so they opt for the latter color.

Today we present some artisan variations on the classic red cap, in a variety of medium, shapes and sizes. Working with cut paper, Meghan Stratman‘s collage G is for Gnome (above) sports a red hat taller than the gnome is tall.

Bohoi Kim‘s Lost Gnome Hat (above) is made of clay, just 1.25″ high, and —charmingly— comes with a lost boot.

At 14″, neither Bohoi Kim’s missing hat (nor boot) would fit Candice Kimmel’s Bearded Willard (right), a handcrafted gnome of the traditional garden variety. It’s no surprise gnomes look comfortable in the garden, folklore labels these peaceful, helpful creatures as regularly building complex underground homes, usually in the base of trees, with escape tunnels.

Cutesypoo has created a paint-your-own variety of gnome hats (below) made of paper. At 4″ tall, and coming in four emotions: love, angry, cheery, and sad, these are a great project for kids of any age stuck indoors. The pressing question: will you stick with the traditional red, or dare to bring new colors to your Gnome’s wardrobe?

Special Gnome Hats by Neuart (below) brings us a completely darling rendition of gnome fashion for the beloved and collectable Blythe doll. These are knit by hand in a variety of colors.

Although modern Garden Gnomes were created in Poland, Gnome mythology first appeared in Scandinavian stories. In Alchemist tradition Gnomes are mascots of earth/prime matter and symbols of worldly possibilities, no wonder they’re always so jovial!

Knit your own hat true to the time-honored iconography of gnome fashion, but with a decidedly modern softness (and not looking like a baby hat simply made bigger):

Xandy Peters‘s calls out 80 stitches to be distributed between 3 needles. Find the rest of the tutorial here. FairyRoom editor Emily wants one. Too bad she can’t knit. (She’s sending this link to her mom.)

The gnomes we love the best? The ones here in our hometown, of course!

He is rich who owns the day. There is no king, rich man, fairy, or demon who possesses such power as that.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s a Terry Brooks Kind of Day

Today we’re doing a spin on our New, Soon, & Classic series today, and shining the spotlight on Terry Brooks, one of the unequivocal masters of modern fantasy whose new series released yesterday. We’re even changing out order to fit the reading order of the Shannara series books we’re discussing below. We mentioned Wards of Faerie back in May, but there was hardly any information available at that time, so we decided it was worthy of a revisit.

CLASSIC: THE SWORD OF SHANNARA by Terry Brooks, Book One of Shannara (Orbit, 1977)

Since this came out thirty-five years ago, Brooks has set nine series in his fantasy world, the Four Lands, now totaling over twenty books and over two-thousand years of Fantastic history.

Long ago, wars of ancient Evil ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races – gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles until giant, forbidding Allanon, with strange Druidic powers, reveals a supposedly-dead Warlock Lord plots to destroy the world.

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, only usable by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flies into the Vale to kill Shea. To save the Vale, Shea flees, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.

A community reader on Goodreads, Joel Paul, said, “Terry Brooks truly has a gift for making a fantasy world seem to be a reality. His descriptions of character and scenery leave a vivid image in ones’ mind that will stay with you for years to come.” Tanda, another Goodreads reviewer, agreed, “His characters are so distinct and unique, while his fantasy world is as wholly developed and visible as my own backyard. Better yet, I can read this book over and over and still enjoy it.”

However, as much as this book is lauded over the last three decades, there is a small, but loud contingent of readers who find the plot too close to Lord of the Rings. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but with twenty-two books and counting, exploring the world of  the Four Lands, I think Brooks has used his Tolkein inspiration and created something very much his own. And as Nikko, a community reviewer on Goodreads, put it, “Where others see repetition, I see consistency. Where others see a copycat, I see one of the many variations in the seeds of literature that Tolkien sowed into the world of reading and writing.” Over half of Goodreads reviewers gave Swords four- or five-stars!

An excerpt is available on the author’s site. Order The Sword of Shannara from these popular booksellers:


Following this classic debut, followed a complex web of sequel and prequel series, leading up to 2012…

NEW: WARDS OF FAERIE by Terry Brooks, Book One of Shannara’s Dark Legacy (Del Ray, 2012)

This new series begins one hundred years after the last and according to the official synopsis:

When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled—and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart.

Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins.

Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. For whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come. But Aphenglow and her allies—Druids, Elves, and humans alike—remember the monstrous history of the Demon War, and they know that the Four Lands will never survive another reign of darkness. But whether they themselves can survive the attempt to stem that tide is another question entirely.

Emily Badwell, a community reader on Goodreads said, “I didn’t want to put this book down. Quite simply, I loved it. It was everything a good fantasy story should be-full of adventure, romance, magic and danger.” Another community reviewer, Allison Barrin said, “Brooks knows how to write fantasy at its best, and I recommend this book whether you have previously entered and loved the world of Shannara or not. It is a journey you won’t forget.”

Read Chapter One yourself, or watch Terry Brooks read Chapter Six to you! Order it from these popular booksellers:


SOON: BLOODFIRE QUEST by Terry Brooks, Book Two of Shannara’s Dark Legacy (Del Ray, March 19 2013)

Next up for Terry Brooks is Book Two of the Dark Legacy of Shannara. Book Three, Witch Wraith, is also expected to come out in 2013. But in Bloodfire Quest (be warned that there are spoilers for Wards of Faerie ahead):

The quest for the missing Elfstones – relics filled with powerful ancient magic – has gone badly awry.

The Ard Rhys and her followers have been trapped inside the harsh mirror-world of the Forbidding, whose barriers are slowly eroding. Now they are at the mercy of all the creatures who were banished from her world because they were deemed too dangerous to live.

What’s more, the twins, Railing and Redden, have been separated for the first time in their lives – one caught in the Forbidding, and the other willing to do anything to get his brother out…

This is the second novel in a breathtaking new series from the master of fantasy Terry Brooks. Returning to his core Shannara world, this spellbinding series will astound both seasoned Terry Brooks fans and those discovering his magical world for the first time.

If you were already excited about this book, you might be thinking, hey! Where’d you get a synopsis? It’s not even on Goodreads or!

I know, right! I was all set to tell you there was no synopsis to be had, but Aiden Moher, book blogger over at A Dribble of Ink, has had the synopsis for over a month! Good on him and lucky for us. But that is—for real this time—all we can find about Bloodfire Quest. So to provide a little more info in this section, and to get you a little more stoked to start this great new series, here’s some great bonus features from Terry Brooks:

Look for more about Fantastic books and authors from FairyRoom this time next week!