April 24, 2024

The Valentine Gnome is one of many DIY gnomes dwelling in East Tennessee

This crafter takes a different angle on Valentine’s Day gifts. Her out-of-the-ordinary gnomes are personalized, which makes for interesting gifts year-round.

Four hand-crafted Valentine themed gnomes made and sold by Ronette Campbell Hurley in her home. Photo/ Ronette Campbell Hurley

The Valentine Gnome

Tired of the same heart-boxed chocolates and marked-up jewelry? Your valentine might be, too.

Statistics from the National Retail Federation reported that Americans spent $6.5 billion on jewelry and candy in 2018 for Valentine’s Day.

Some people took a different approach this year by gifting a gnome. The Valentine Gnome is personally crafted for the person you love.

“Not many people would expect to get a gnome for Valentine’s Day,” Ronette Campbell Hurley said.

Hurley is an East Tennessee native who crafts gnomes with a Valentine theme to sell on Facebook.

She discovered the idea on The Shabby Tree, a blog with step-by-step DIY posts and boutique clothing for sale based in Georgia. The blogger encourages her followers to use their own creativity and put their own spin on her ideas.

Hurley made her first gnome for a white elephant work party. She decorated the gnome with a Christmas themed sock, a bouncy and blushing nose, a little mop and a few cute bows. When all her coworkers encouraged her to make more, she decided to use the hobby to make a profit.

“I just like to have something that’s like a stress reliever,” Hurley said, “and [the craft] gets my mind off work and cleaning house and all that. So, I just bring out all my craft stuff and go to town.”

She had sold between 50 and 60 gnomes early February. Some were for her next-door neighbor’s grandchildren, a few more for coworkers and then some for Facebook buyers. She pointed out that a couple of men have bought them for their partners, but for the most part it is women buying them for family members or their friends.

The Everyday Gnome

While it’s too late to get a Valentine a friendly neighborhood gnome, that’s not the only day of the year to recognize someone else or buy yourself a gift. Hurley intends to keep making gnomes for any occasion or time of the year.

She already expressed ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter and springtime. Two gnomes she made for spring featured flowers and carrot seeds. Flowers wrap around the female gnome’s sock-toboggan, while the male is carrying a flowerpot full of carrot seeds. Saint Patrick’s Day gnomes will have the right amount of green and coins picked perfectly from the pot at the end of the rainbow. Easter will bring classic pastels, bunnies and eggs.

Two springtime themed gnomes created by Ronette Campbell Hurley await delivery.
Photo/ Ronette Campbell Hurley

Hurley uses creative care and caution to craft each gnome. The same thoughtfulness that goes into one goes into all the others too.

“[My] favorite part of making the gnome would be when I put the nose on there,” Hurley said, “and I can squish it and make it different shapes. Give them a personality.”

The sudsy gnomes sitting in tin tubs have a more bubblier personality than the other gnomes. They come with bath accessories like a rubber ducky and slippers. Instead of using sock-toboggans, they keep their mop covering their eyes with a wrapped hand towel.

A hand-crafted gnome relaxes in a bathtub created by Ronette Campbell Hurley.
Photo/ Ronette Campbell Hurley





Hurley even made a themed gnome decked out in a red bandana, mustache and slick black shades.

Her Facebook page has more pictures of all her work. That’s also where buyers without a private connection can contact her for a personalized gnome.

She got a head start on a new trend, because DIY items are on the rise. Statista reported that 27% of gifts for last holiday season were home-made or crafted items, which is an 11% increase from just five years ago.



Today may be Valentine’s Day, but remember that special person is special every day. These gnomes bring a hand-crafted quality that is hard to achieve with store-bought items.


Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Grace Goodacre

Featured image by Ronette Campbell Hurley

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