How to save a hardened paintbrush

I am embarrassed to say how many times I have had to resort to doing this.

Luckily, it works every time on acrylic and latex paints!  :)

This time it took longer, but it did fix my much loved old work horse of a paintbrush.  Yay!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, personal stuff, tutorial & how to

Thoughts about buying peg looms

I get asked so often for advice about buying peg looms that I decided to make a video with my thoughts about figuring out which is the perfect peg loom.

Here are the links that I mentioned in the video:

 leevalley.com 

dewberryridge.com

lacis.com

facebook.com/daisyhillhandiworks

weavingmehome.com

My peg loom patterns and eBooks are available at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NCroneFindlay?section_id=16079467&ref=shopsection_leftnav_3

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Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, weaving & handwoven

Mermaid Bench

There are so many ways to say, ‘I love you’.

Our son and daughter in love have just bought their first house, and so to help them out, Jim and I are giving them the antique harvest table that we have had forever.  (We love you….)

It was our dining room table for decades, but it moved into my studio when we inherited his parent’s teak dining room table.

Of course, they need dining room chairs, too…. so, I cheerfully gave them 4 0f our dining room chairs.

(We love you….)

But, then… remembered…. oh, oh…. I just gave away half of our dining room chairs, and once a week, when the family is together for dinner, there are 8 of us…. oh, oh….

Okay…. so hold that thought…. (um, need to replace the dining room chairs)

Alright… on to a very big deal that has been happening in our lives.

The church that Jim’s parents were part of from their marriage right after WW2 to their death  was the center of their lives. It has just shut down. It was where Jim’s childhood and adolescence orbited, and where he plays guitar most Sunday mornings. The remains of the dwindling congregation has amalgamated with another diminished congregation and the building has been sold to developers.  

The beautiful old building will be demolished very soon-  and Jim has been grieving this very hard.

So many memories, so much history, so many stories, so much music, so much life…..

The church has been stripped out and the fixtures and fittings have been blended over to the new church, with what can’t be assimilated there, being sold or given to other churches or to church members.

It’s a lovely way of keeping the history and energy of the church going.

Transformed, but still embraced by the community.

I really wanted to have a piece of something from the church that I could somehow enfold into our home so that Jim would have that deep history and connection at his finger tips.  It’s been so hard for him to feel the loss of that precious space.

A thought popped into my mind, but I thought…. oh no…. probably couldn’t happen… hmmmm.

When we were walking the dogs last week, I asked Jim: ‘You know that bench in that little room off to the side of the nave?  Is it available?’

He turned to me in amazement and said- ‘I was thinking the same thing, but thought that you wouldn’t want it!’.

We both grinned like fools, and said: ‘Let’s go for it!’

So, he called the man who’s in charge of disbursement, and amazingly enough, the bench was still there, and needed to be moved out ASAP, as there was very little time before the building would be handed over to the developers.

That night, I lay in bed, with the size of the bench growing in immensity in my mind, and thought:

‘We can’t do this! It’s huge! We are supposed to downsizing! Ack’.

Jim calmly said: ‘It’s going to work fine’.  (I love you….)

Our son and his friends helped us lift it out (oh my! Heavy!), and then our son and son in love lugged it into the dining room:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I wanted to be very respectful of the bench, knowing how much work the gentleman who built it back in 1950 (It’s older than both of us!) put into it.

But, we really didn’t want it to look quite so ecclesiastical- it is retired now, after almost 65 years of noble service (well…. actually, it’s been tucked away in a back room for at least 36 of those years, but who’s counting?) and so now, it’s time for it to have a holiday, and become a well used and well loved domestic treasure.

So, I set to work, and started sanding. Whew.  (I love you….)

And, I asked Jim what he wanted on it, besides mermaids- we always knew that it was going to be ‘The Mermaid Bench’.

He loves sailing, so he suggested a compass rose.

A 60 year old book of maps from the thrift shop had a compass rose on one of the maps- it’s only a 1/2 in tall, but it was enough to inspire me.

So, I started drawing.  I added all kinds of things that we love, like trees, dragonflies, and a seahorse- Jim asked for that. I thought that it was most appropriate, as he is a fabulous father and grandfather, just like seahorses are.

I pulled some paint chips….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

And primed it….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

All the while, thinking: I love you!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I drew the compass rose and  mermaids on plywood, and then cut them out, sanded, burned and varnished the medallions.  (I love you….)

The seat cushions are temporary…. I’ll be weaving more appropriate ones soon.  (I love you….)

This is what it actually looks like in the dining room:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

It fits into our quirky, light hearted home perfectly.

And, it says, resoundingly: I LOVE YOU!!!!

Our wee grandson loves it, too, and is delighted that I sneaked a little portrait of him into the compass rose just to the right of the flower on the sun’s head.

Yes, indeed, there really are a million ways to say, ‘I love you’….. yes.

And, if I hadn’t impulsively given away half our chairs to our adored offspring, we would never have considered adopting our Mermaid Bench.

Well, love leads us in the most delightful ways, doesn’t it?

(I love you….)

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, personal stuff, woodwork

Sigh- this is NOT the background for the book pics

While I am weaving up a storm, working on projects for my new book, I can’t post pics of what I am weaving.

You know…. you just can’t ‘scoop’ yourself and let the cat out of the bag, no matter how enticing it would be to let it out for just a very little peek.

But, nope.  It’s zipped lips and fingers off the keyboard when the itch to do a tiny reveal has to be firmly pushed down.

On the other hand, when something gets vetoed by my editor and the art dept…. I can say:

“Guess what! Here’s something that you WON’T be seeing in my new book!” :)

I had this bright  obviously Not so bright, idea that I would weave the background for all the project and how to photos on the peg loom.

I liked the idea.

A lot.

I wove and wove and wove for many an hour…..

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

And wove a large background piece.

And, merrily shot photographs using it.

But…..

I am learning the nuts and bolts of my new camera and so I sent photos in to my editor to make sure that the photos will be acceptable for all the manipulations that have to happen for publishing.

Oops….

The art department nixed the background.

oops.

Should have checked in on that one sooner, shouldn’t I?

oops.

Building a book is never a straight line- it’s a ziggy, zaggy, loopy and sometimes, snaggy one, indeed.

Ah, the learning curve.

All part of the journey.

Back to work I go.

:)

But hey, at least I was able to show you something that I have been working (and working and working) on.

:)

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, Writing a book

Permission Doll

I’ve just posted a new pdf pattern to my etsy shop: The Permission Doll LINK

The Permission Doll was inspired by a wonderful thing that my father once said to me.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I asked him if he thought that a coat that I was thinking of making for myself was going to be too wild.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

He thought about it for a long time, and then declared: “Just wear it with panache!”.
And so I did.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.tottietalkscrafts.com

I often think about living my life with panache, and about how important it is to stretch ourselves and to try new things.
We have to give ourselves permission to be brave and to find delight in all kinds of ways.

So, when you knit yourself the Permission doll, remember to live your life with panache!

And, every time you look at her, I hope that she will make you smile and spark a little extra bravery, whimsy and delight in your life.

She has been a force for healing in my life, and I hope that she will be in yours, too. :)

 

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, knitting

Too many projects for one book?

Oh oh…. I am so inspired by my new book about peg loom weaving that I am coming up with waaaaaaaaaay too many ideas for it….

I can draw a star with my weaving sticks LOL

And, then, instead of carrying on with figuring out yardage etc and working on the forms I have created to help me track my progress and keep everything organized… I stopped and played…..

Sigh.

That’s not going to get  a book written, is it?

Okay.

Back to work.

(Voice of  Inner Child: But look! I can draw things with my weaving sticks!  Whee!

Voice of Serious, Studious Adult: Oh, shush, and let me get back to work…. oh wait… that IS fun!)

All right, all right…. I really am getting back to work now.

Really. ;)

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

Book Contract Signed- Now I Can Tell

Wheee!  I am so excited!

I can  finally share my good news!

For months, I have been sworn to secrecy, but now….the contracts are signed…. so……..

My editor has given me the go ahead to let the cat out of the bag.

(A brief moment of happy dancing here)

Stackpole Books is going to be publishing my new book about Peg and Stick Loom Weaving.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

I love peg looms and stick weaving- they are simple little looms, but have incredible creative potential.

I have already self published many ebooks and patterns for wonderful designs with peg and stick looms:

Jewelry making with Peg and Stick looms: LINK

Baskets LINK

Mermaid Dolls LINK

Woven Dolls: with 6 weaving sticks LINK  with 4 weaving sticks LINK

A shortcut to my Peg Loom & Stick Weaving listings on etsy are: ETSY

And, I’ll post pics of some of the tapestries that I have woven on the Peg Loom soon, just to show a bit more of the potential of these delightful looms.

For the new book, I have designed oodles and oodles and oodles of new designs- oh my!  I am so excited!!!!!

And…. I am covering all kinds of awesome techniques right from the very basics up to advanced and slightly boggling ways of working with the peg loom.  (And weaving sticks, too).

I’ll be working my sweet little chops off from now until June of 2015, when the manuscript, photos, illustrations and diagrams take flight to land in the capable hands of my editor and her clever cohorts.

They will then spend months making magic with it, (so much happens to the text, photos, diagrams and illustrations once the wizards of technology at Stackpole Books get their hot little hands flying!).

Then, the book comes back to me for my proofreading, and back to them and then, it takes flight again, off to the printers.

That’s why it takes another whole year before it can miraculously pop up on book shelves.

It’s worth the wait :)  I hope.

I’ve asked my editor if it’s okay to share my journey with writing the book with you, and she has said yes, as long as it doesn’t upset people that they have to wait so long for it.

There is soooooooooooo much involved in writing a book, and I find it very interesting, so I hope that you will, too.

(And of course, I can’t let the cat out of the bag about the exact projects until the book is closer to release, but then, I’ll be able to share ALL the pics).

But, now…. I must get back to work!

After  a little more happy dancing, of course….. :)

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven

Woven Women- She Walks in Beauty Like the Night

I love the poem, ‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’ by Lord Byron….

To me, it’s about being aware of how we walk through the days AND the nights of our lives-

Walking each moment in attention to the beauty that surrounds us,

and the beauty that exists in us, and those whose lives we walk with.

Also, it makes me think about the ways we treat the night in our culture.

We’re a little (or a LOT) afraid of it, aren’t we?

We need to light it up and make it not so dark, not so scary,

not so much bigger than we are…..

And, so, I made this Woven Woman, with all those thoughts, and oh, so many more,

in my mind.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’  was woven on my 8 inch Mirrix tapestry loom at 8 epi and 4 epi (I wanted to add a lot of texture, so I took a chance and by going with what is considered to be a whalloping HUGE scale of weaving.

It was a challenge to accept what I was doing, but I loved what I learned in combining the 2 different ends per inch ratio- always excellent to learn new things- Yes!)

Her arms were woven on my 4 harness loom at 30 ends per inch.

The narrow bands at her shoulders and wrists were woven on my inkle loom.

I drew the face, hands and feet on Baltic Birch plywood and cut them out with the bandsaw, sanded, sanded and filed the edges.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Then I burned the pencil lines with a special rheostatic wood burner that my lovely, brilliant husband, Jim Findlay, LINK designed and built for me.

Next step was to do some encaustic work with laying color in with beeswax, and melting it in (without setting fire to everything, ahem- that does put a crimp in the day….).  Then, layers of acrylic paints, more beeswax, and then  the wooden pieces were all varnished.

I drill holes in at their edges so they can be stitched securely into the tapestry.

‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’ is just over 36 inches tall.

I am enchanted with weaving words these days, which has all manner of challenges, but it has absolutely captured my imagination.

I find weaving words to be utterly delicious, and phrases and fragments of favorite poems are jumping up and down, leaping through my dreams, marching through my mind or dancing on the edges, demanding to become Woven Women.

So, what am I to do?  Warp up the loom and keep weaving, of course!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

My beloved daughter in love, (light of my son’s life, my dear friend, and a total treasure), Alliston Findlay, is a master hand spinner.

Her handspun yarns are the richly shaded blacks in ‘She Walks in Beauty’.

The irridescent threads that I used to weave the words are from Kreinik threads LINK

Weaving tapestry with bundles of metallic threads (I used 3 or 4 strands of the metalics and blending threads held together) is VERY slow and definitely challenging, but SO worth it.

When I was steaming the tapestry after it came off the loom, I was VERY careful, as I was worried that I might melt the threads.  Luckily, they stood up to the steaming and finishing process just fine- whew!

Finishing a tapestry is one heck of a lot of work, but that’s another story.

For now, let me leave you with the wish that you, too, will walk in beauty like the night, through all the moments of your beautiful life!

PS:I was told last week that Lord Byron wrote the poem because he deeply honoured and respected a young woman who struggled with cerebral palsy. Apparently, this made it difficult for some people to see her true beauty.  This makes me love the poem even more!

If you check the comments, you will see a link to poets.org … check it out!  (Thank you, Gene!)

Here is the poem in full:

I.

She walks in beauty, like the night 
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright 
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light 
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

II.

One shade the more, one ray the less, 
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress, 
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express 
   How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

III.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, 
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below, 
   A heart whose love is innocent!

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A small video of my ‘Woven Women’ tapestries

Yesterday, a dear friend helped me to hang some of my ‘Woven Women’ tapestries at the Blue Chair Cafe in Edmonton AB.

They will be hanging at the Blue Chair for the months of September and October 2014.

I took a small video after the show was hung….

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Filed under Mirrix loom, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Woven Women- And All Shall Be Well

One of my most favorite prayers is Dame Julian of Norwich’s …

“And All Shall Be Well, and All Shall Be Well, and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well….”

This prayer is a mantra that I repeat to myself through thick and thin, through the darkest nights and hardest moments-   we all have them, and they are transformed into a wellspring of compassion, but, oh my, how incredibly challenging it can be at times to navigate them.

Thank you, Dame Julian, for these words to live by…..

I love weaving words, and have done many woven homages to Dame Julian.

But, this is the first time I have woven her prayer in tapestry-

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

She is approximately 36 inches tall.

I wove the central tapestry panel on my Mirrix 8 inch tapestry loom at 6 epi.

The side and back panels were woven on my 4 harness floor loom at 12 epi.

On her face, there are bits of sea glass, fragments of pottery and seashells, as well as driftwood.

 

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tapestry, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works