A lovely Scandinavian weaving workshop

Last week I enjoyed a wonderful weave along and slide show workshop on the zoom platform from the Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts department at the University of Wisconsin.

https://folklife.wisc.edu

The presenter was Laura Demuth. She was a lovely presenter- gracious and so well informed!

I am still swooning about the beautiful textiles that she showed slides of…. Scandianvian weaving is glorious!

I was delighted that the workshop participants were sent a sweet little loom from Hello!Loom.

https://helloloom.com.

When mine arrived in the mail, the first thing I did was to weave a little dress for tiny Willow, a doll that I carved a few months ago.

I started weaving the lady with flowers tapestry during the presentation as Laura demonstrated common motifs used in Scandinavian weaving. I finished the tiny tapestry the next day.

It was a lovely event and my thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make it happen!

Here’s a link to the workshop:

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC) YouTube channel: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxvpdWwWBIk&t=2398s

#sassloom2021 #folklife #helloloom #hellolooms #weaving #handwoven #smallloom #smallloomweaving #smalllooms

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How to Build a Folding Wooden Doll Chair

After I carved and wove 3 dolls that didn’t fit the doll furniture that I already had, (see Brown Paper Yarn Dolls) ,

I decided that I had to build them each a chair.

And so I built them each their own little chair with a seat woven on the Mirrix Saffron Loom, using instructions from my book: Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom.

The Chairs are not in the book, but the weaving patterns are. See pages: 68, 50 and 45.

Here are the dimensions for the wooden parts of the chair:

The wooden pieces are all 1 cm thick and 2 cm wide.

Pieces A are 24 cm long (cut 2)

Pieces B are 20 cm long (cut 2)

Pieces C are 11 cm long (cut 2)

The Dowels are 1/4 inch in diameter:

A: Cut 2 that are 11 cm long

B: Cut 2 that are 9 cm long

C: Cut 1 that is 13 cm long

The Seat: Weave a piece of fabric that is 20 cm long by 7 cm wide and stitch through the end of the warp loops, over the top dowel of A and the front dowel of B.

The finished size of the chair is:

Height: 20 cm (8 inches)

From front to back: 18 cm (almost 7 inches)

Width: 13 cm at widest point (about 5 inches)

The dolls are very happy in their new chairs!

I have made a video, showing how to build the chairs- but please note that I forgot to show how I sew the weaving to the chair.

Oops.

I simply lifted the weaving off the loom and stitched through the warp loops with 2 strands of yarn, going over the dowel.

I hope that you will have fun making doll chairs for your dolls and teddy bears, too. ❤

Here’s the link:

Happy Chairmaking!

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Filed under book review/book/books, eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tutorial & how to, upcycling, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

How to Spin and Weave Brown Paper Yarn

One of my favorite eco friendly crafts is spinning yarn from brown paper….

This video shows how:

And, then, I love to weave the brown paper yarn into all kinds of fun things like this bunny and teddy bear.

I carved their heads from wood, and made their little shoes from scraps of garment leather that I glued to wooden soles that I carved. The navy shoes were made from a thrift shop coat that I cut and sewed into a ton of different things- bags and doll shoes and doll clothes.

I made their hands from scraps of heavy weight leather that I was given years ago.

Bunny’s face is lopsided because the scrap of firewood that I carved her from was wonky, but she forgives me for that!

I adapted this pattern from my etsy shop to weave their bodies on weaving sticks, using the brown paper yarn that I had spun: Here’s the link:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/92453904/pdf-pattern-for-delightful-dolls-woven?ref=shop_home_feat_1

The brown paper yarn also works BEAUTIFULLY for weaving baskets. Here’s a link to my pattern for weaving baskets on weaving sticks:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/111292892/pdf-pattern-for-all-kinds-of-baskets?ref=shop_home_feat_3

And, here’s the link for jewelry to weave with weaving sticks. Brown paper is wonderful for making jewelry!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/124255671/ebook-jewelry-woven-on-the-stick-weaving?ref=shop_home_feat_4

I love all the neat things that can be made with brown paper yarn. In our house, brown paper is NEVER thrown away!

It always gets upcycled into nifty new things 😀

This is my contribution to the monthly ‘Scrap Happy’ Blogging group- people who delight in making things from scraps and upcycled bits of this and that post on the 15th of each month.

Here’s the links to the rest of the group. I always enjoy seeing what each of them has done each month:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon , HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen (this is me, but you know that) ,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

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Charlotte Mermaid

Last month, I posted about Bedelia Mermaid, whom I carved from a very hard old piece of wood that was upcycled from a very old and fallen apart bed. LINK

Her sister, poor thing, languished in the freezer for several weeks, because I needed to force some moisture into the rock hard wood.

Bedelia thought that I was being rather harsh with her poor sister!

I named her ‘Frozen Charlotte’, which is actually a kind of doll that doesn’t have moveable arms and legs, but in this case, it was because she spent so much time in sub-zero temperatures.

Freezing the moistened wood made a world of difference!

When I tried carving Charlotte’s arm, I was delighted- carving the wood was now possible without my knife going instantly dull.

So, I moved on to carving the rest of her:

Bedelia kept her sister company:

And, when Charlotte was finally done, they sat and enjoyed finally being together after poor Charlotte’s dreadful time in the freezer.

Bedelia told Charlotte about some more sweet mermaids that have joined the flutter of memaids in the studio and wanted to introduce her to them.

Charlotte is rather shy, perhaps because of the time in the freezer – it takes her time to warm up to new people.

But when she met the sweet Bunnymaids, she wasn’t shy at all, and she whispered to Bedelia that she likes them very much.

Baby Bunnymaid held Charlotte’s hand, and they all sang a small song and decided that they were happy to be in such fine company.

Unfortunately, Charlotte is still feeling very cold, so I think that I will have to do something about that!

SCRAP HAPPY- Once a month, a group of bloggers who are into upcycling all post on the 15th of the month, sharing what they have created with upcycled bits of this and that in the past month. Charlotte’s introduction is my contribution to Scrap Happy for this month.

Here are the other Scrap Happy bloggers- I always love seeing what they have been up to!

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

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Filed under carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, eco crafts & green projects, mermaid, wooden dolls, woodwork

Wooden Bunny Dolls and Crochet Hooks

As part of #the100dayproject challenge, I have been immersed in carving wooden dolls and following where that has lead me for my #100daysofcarvingwoodendolls.

I have been sharing images of wooden mermaid dolls that I have carved over the years, and also bunnies, too….

One little bunny doll, Sophia, sat on my carving desk for weeks and weeks without any arms and legs, and FINALLY, I put carving knife to wood and carved her chubby little arms and legs and I am totally delighted with her!

Sophia is VERY happy to be here in the studio and to be all done!

She then inspired me to carve her some bunny friends who were also inspired by the mermaids that I have been carving.

So, I have carved a trio of bunny mermaids from upcycled wood from a piano that fell apart and our friend the piano tuner rescued pieces of wood for us.

This is Jali and Franny with Sophia. Oops… I haven’t taken a picture with their very tiny wee sister, DebraLou, so here she is:
The nickle is there to show the scale of just how small DebraLou is. She’s a very small bunny mermaid, indeed!

And, then, because I was talking about bunnies, I got out some bunny crochet hooks that I carved quite awhile ago….

The Bunny Heart Spoon wanted to join in the fun, so she joined the rabbit crochet hooks.

AND… that inspired me to FINALLY finish carving a blank that I had made for a crochet hook 10 years ago! wow…

I am totally delighted with her and ….

she has inspired me to immerse myself in carving wooden ‘art’ crochet hooks again…. which is very inspiring and exciting, but that’s another story!

Oh my goodness. while I have been so busy posting images and notes daily to Instagram LINK I haven’t been keeping up with posting to my blog, and yikes, everything has changed here in a new and baffling way! I don’t like it at all and am flumoxed with how to deal with it…. so if this post is not quite right, it’s because I honestly don’t know what I am doing with this new and unwelcome and unfriendly way of posting! Fingers crossed that I can figure this out.

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Bedelia the Mermaid and where she came from

Once upon a time, there was a very, very old wooden bed frame.

It was so old that parts of it broke, and so it was taken apart and about to be thrown in the trash, when someone thought… wait… we know someone who makes things come to life again….

They gave the broken old bed frame to my son, who offered a piece of it to me:

It was very heavy old wood, which soon revealed itself to be exceedingly HARD… and I mean H.A.R.D wood!

I cut out 2 little mermaids from the former bed frame, wiggling around to try to deal with long notches, deep channels and bored out holes that large screws had once lived in.

I sanded the varnish off one set of mermaid blanks, and then remembered to take a picture of the ‘under construction’ stage… some of those scraps of wood are not useable for carving because they have hardware embedded.

Oh my word!  Carving the old hardwood was incredibly challenging, and there were a couple of nights when I was carving until the wee small hours.

I was so happy to finish carving Bedelia, but the incredible hardness and knife dulling properties of the wood made it oh so NOT fun to carve.

So, I am conducting an experiment:

Bedelia’s sister had a long lovely soak, which I hope will make the wood more carving friendly.

And now, oh, poor little mermaid!

She’s in the freezer, waiting for me to have enough time to carve her!

My fingers are crossed that I haven’t destroyed the wood with the soaking and the freezing,

and that I will be able to release the latent mermaid from her cryogenic state soon and more easily than Bedelia!

The next stage of bringing Bedelia to life was to burn and paint her Mermaid scales:

And then assemble her, making all her joints function:

Bedelia wanted to have some Mermaidly fun, so she went for a swim:

Which was a lot of fun, but very tiring, so she came back and relaxed in the studio.

Tottie Tomato went and made Bedelia a lovely cup of tea.

But she was still cold from the wild waves, so I went rummaging through the box of threads that I inherited from my Mother.

And crocheted a lace shawl for Bedelia.

She’s very happy and is looking forward to meeting all the other dolls in the studio.

She is  hopeful that I will get to carving her poor icy sister, very soon!

I hope so, too… but the studio has been a busy place lately, the icy mermaid will have to fit in with the other magic that is being stirred up!

I am so pleased to now be part of a lovely blogging group: Scrap Happy,  that was begun 6 years ago by Kate Chiconi and her friend, Gun, in Sweden.

The Scrap Happy bloggers all post once a month on the 15th about the wonderful things that they are creating from scraps of this and that, and none of it new….

please check out their blog posts, too.   😀

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear and Carol

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Filed under carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, eco crafts & green projects, lace making, mermaid, Tottie Tomato Loves, Uncategorized, upcycling, wooden dolls, woodwork

Elise was a Piano Once Upon a Time

This is a true story.

This is the story of how a tiny doll and her special hedgehog friend came to live in my studio….

Long, long ago, there was a seed, well several seeds, really.

They grew up and became majestic trees.

They sang the song of the wind and the sun and the moon and the rain and the stars for probably hundreds of years.

And, then they were cut down.

They became a piano.

And the piano sang  songs of love, and sadness and grief and joy.

Eventually, the piano wore out.  Completely.

The piano tuner shook his head sadly and declared it to be done.

But he had a friend who made things with wood, so he offered some of the wood from the piano to his friend.

His friend happily accepted the wood from the sad and gone piano, and because he is a generous and kind person,

he offered some pieces of the wood to his Mum.

That’s me.

I was sure I could feel a very, very tiny doll singing little tiny songs inside the wooden scrap….

I cut a little bit of the piano wood and loved how it felt in my hands….

I cut out rough shapes that would be just the right size to carve my favorite size of doll- 2 and a half inches tall.

I carved:

and carved:

and carved and carved and carved some more.

While I was carving, I asked her what her name is,

and she declared: “Elise, of course!”

She said that even though she preferred playing Mozart when she was a piano,

that she had always loved it when her family played ‘Fur Elise’.

(An interesting thing happened when I told my daughter about tiny Elise-

she knew, even before I said Elise’s name that that was the name of this tiny, but

determined little wooden person!)

Elise let me know that she wanted old fashioned boots

and cream colored stockings and camisole

and that lovely amber color from the shellac for her hair.

She also told me that she wanted me to tat her dress,

and while I was at it, to make the tatting shuttle that I would use

to tat her dress.

And, to make the tatting shuttle a hedgehog, and

to use the bit of wood that was around the lock that used to keep the piano closed.

Elise  helped me to figure out how to get the lock out of the wood….

She insisted that the lovely round brass keyhole had to become part of her tatting shuttle.

Elise chose some old tatting cotton that I had been given

(from the estate of the friend of a friend who didn’t know what to do with it)

Elise and I started freeform tatting her dress.

Sometimes, it didn’t go well.  sigh.

Tatting is the pits to try and unpick, so scissors were the best option:

Elise got a little annoyed at times with all the trying on and taking off of the dress,

but I reminded her that she was the one who demanded it be tatted-

crochet would have been infinitely faster!

She fell on her face and refused to co-operate for awhile, but eventually,

calmed down and we got on with the tatting:

Eventually, Elise’s dress was done.

It’s a bit cattywombus but Elise has forgiven me for that.

She understands that freeforming when making a tatted dress can mean that things are slightly ‘unique’.

Elise is looking forward to having adventures with the other wooden dolls in the studio.

She has placed a few requests for things that she would like to have, thank you very much.

Elise may look young, but you must remember, that she’s a doll with a long, long story!

(and has more to tell, but that is for another day and until then, she and her hedgehog friend will enjoy life in the studio).

 

I have joined a group of wonderful bloggers from all over the world – The Scrap Happy Bloggers- who work with upcycled materials and post once a month.

Here are the links to all their blogs: Do check them out 🙂

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2 and Noreen

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Filed under carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, eco crafts & green projects, lace making, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, tatting, upcycling, wooden dolls, woodwork

Carved Wooden Spoon Wooden Dolls Hearts and Flowers 2

In my previous post, I showed you the little sister of this wooden spoon wooden doll- Springtime LINK 

Her big sister is also a celebration of flowers and hearts and love …

Flora is in love with flowers-

and dreams of them, night and day

She has a Compass Rose to help guide her by the Sun and Moon:

Her heart shape spoon is extra large to help her gather and carry and share a whole lot of love and beauty.

When I was carving her, I was sure that there was a poem that was supposed to accompany her.

Sure enough, when I had finished the carving,

I went to bed, wondering what poem it was that she wanted me to burn on the back….

As I drifted off to sleep, this little haiku popped into my head,

so I jumped out of bed and wrote it down.

I burned it onto her, first thing the next morning.

Here is the poem:

“In the Seed

The Flower waits

Birthing

the Universe”. …………

May all your seeds and flowers give blossom and birth all manner of beauty in your life!

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Carved Wooden Spoon Wooden Dolls Hearts and Flowers 1

I have fallen in love with carving flowers on my wooden spoon wooden dolls.

Nowadays, I carve the wooden spoon part of my wooden dolly spoons in the shape of a heart, to symbolize gathering and sharing love and kindness.

This  Hearts and Flowers Sister is about 6 inches/15 cm tall and is a celebration of the river and the ocean and flowers and butterflies and dragonflies:.

To be honest, she’s also about dreaming of much much gentler weather than we are experiencing right now.

We have had a brutally long ferociously cold spell of winter, and I am so longing for Springtime, and for flowers to be in bloom

instead of blistering icy cold shattering winds!

I miss the ocean, and it’s so cold that I am not even going out to say hello to the river, even though we live close to it.

so I carved  flowers as a love song to the flowers and waves for my longing to walk along the ocean’s shore:

It has been such a long time since the dragonflies danced in our neighbourhood

and of course, the butterflies are cozy in their cocoons, dreaming of springtime…

Seriously…. Springtime, I am longing for you!

I carved ‘Springtime’s Sister and the next blog post is all about her. LINK

 

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How Fairy Tales Influence My Work

I love the fairy tale, ‘Vasilisa The Fair’, which is a Russian story of a feisty and stalwart young woman with the usual cast of troublesome characters… miserable step mother and step sisters etc’ with the astonishing Baba Yaga thrown in to boot.

I discovered the story more than 45 years ago in a gorgeous version that was told by Alexander Pushkin and illustrated with gobsmackingly exquisite pattern and color play by Ivan Bilibin.

The part that I have always loved the most in the fairy tale is that Vasilisa’s mother wanted to embody her love and feelings of protection for her daughter

when she knew that she was dying and grieving the leaving of her child.

So, she made Vasilisa a small doll that carried all her love for Vasilisa, and became a mentor and guide.

The little doll that the loving mother made was a living blessing for her beloved child that she had to leave too soon.

In my workshops on dollmaking as a healing art, I have always told the story of Vasilisa and her mother making the blessing doll.

I invited participants to make a doll that would represent Vasilisa’s doll for them.

So that’s my history of Vasilisa’s doll….

A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of a  Comfort Doll that I named: Middle Sister, to a dollmaking group on Facebook that focuses on healing dolls.

This dolly spoon is one that insisted on me ‘getting her right’, and  I wrote about that process HERE 

The moderator of the group said that the Middle Sister doll made her think of Vasilisa’s doll,

which hadn’t occurred to me as I was thinking that I was being influenced by the  thousands of Comfort Bears that I have woven, knitted and crocheted over the past 20+ years.

But, the moderator’s comment gave me a   H.U.G.E   ‘AHA’

Yes! indeed!

I felt that this little doll, who was the third in my ‘Comfort Doll’ series

was VERY much an homage to that wonderful energy of  Vasilisa’s doll.

Here are the first 2 dolls in their original state:

I had been feeling that these 2 dolls were not finished… they needed to be painted… which I struggled with,

because I had been wrestling with adding color and somehow thinking that it was against the rules,

(Huh? What rules? Who made them? um… I did… oh)

And, so I jumped into the wonderful fairy tale energy of color and pattern, and re-imagined these two little dolls:

Big Sister:

and Little Sister:

And, NOW, they are truly what they are supposed to be!  Hurrah!

The Three Sisters have been joined by 2 more Vasilisa Comfort Dolls:

I was processing having seen 2 heart wrenching documentaries about grim realities in the world,

and that sorrow flowed out into this Comfort Doll:

Her name is: Vasilisa Comfort Doll: She Stood at the Lake of Sorrow.

I tried to lift some of the sorrow from her face, but she said not to do that….

to acknowledge the sorrow but reach for the beauty.

So I did.

And, the latest little Vasilisa Doll is part of a series of carved wooden dolls that are also spoons,

that I am carving flowers into.

We live in a winter world here in Western Canada, and I am longing for flowers!

So I am carving them!

This is Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Sweet Little Flower:

Carving out space to honor the sorrow and reach for the Beauty,

as well as the longing for flowers is very much a Vasilisa thing to do,

so, I believe that this is how a fairy tale percolates through my mind,

and influences my work as an artist.

Oh yes, one more thing: The Vasilisa Comfort Dolls have Heart shape spoons as essential elements of them,

which is a powerful metaphor for me about gathering the love,

and stirring up healing and empowering energy.

I think that Vasilisa’s mother would approve.

What fairy tale stirs your soul?

 

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Filed under carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, eco crafts & green projects, spoon carving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, Tottie Tomato Loves, upcycling, wooden dolls, woodwork