Category Archives: carving wood

A Wooden Teddy Bear Carved in Response to Grief

The death of our beloved 15 year old small dog has been really hard on both my husband and me.

I wrote in my previous post about the Comfort Doll that I carved from a fallen branch- LINK

When I was carving her, I was inspired to carve a Teddy Bear that would have an open space in it’s heart…..

I used amber color shellac to paint the Teddy Bear to look like our little dog, and then…

My husband and I each placed a tiny scoop of our little dog’s ashes in the open circle.

Then I glued a gold heart over it to seal it….

The glue seals it completely.

It took a while to dry and turn clear.

We both held the little teddy bear and found it to be very comforting….

We sat Teddy Bear and Pollydolly in front of the box of our little guy’s ashes, but when I finished weaving her outfit and knitting a red sweater and blue jeans for him, we sat them on top of the box:

My husband loves working with metal, so he made a little steel doggie: Edward Alloy in tribute to our wee fellow, and it has joined them on the box…..

We have found this tender making of small things in celebration of our wee dog to be very comforting!

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Carving a Comfort Doll from a Fallen Branch

Last week, our darling little dog died. He was 15 years old and we miss him terribly.

The day before he died, a branch fell from the huge Elm tree in front of our house. I love the tree and so I picked up the branch and moved it onto our lawn, thinking that I should probably carve something from it.

A couple of days after we came home from the Vet, without our dear boy in our arms, the impulse to pick up the branch and start carving grew stronger and stronger.

I had been feeling called to carve another 6 inch doll like one that had carved last fall, so I used her as a companion and guide:

I used the same branch for her arms:

And for her legs, but I got the first pair all wrong, so I made another pair from another scrap of wood.

Of course, it took me a few days to carve her and to allow the still wet wood to dry before I could paint her.

This allowed me to follow my inner prompts that were a gift from this little healing dolly and start work on carving a teddy bear. I have posted about him here: LINK

I was surprised that she wanted a very round head, but when I went to carve it down, she firmly told me to just sand it smooth and live with it. Okay…. it’s important to not try to push the doll where she does not want to go!

She let me know exactly what she wanted for her hair, leotard, leggings and boots:

I knitted her a dress that was totally wrong for her, but works beautifully on a different doll.

Then I tried a different dress that I had knitted for another little doll. Nope.

She wanted me to weave her a white skirt and shrug from yarn that my daughter in law spun.

So, I did….

Her name is Pollydolly and I have found the process of carving her (and the teddy bear that I will post about next) to be very soothing and healing.

Dollmaking is very much a healing art and no matter what form it takes, it’s good for the soul.

Grieving is a journey that is unique to each person who has to follow the path, and it’s important to do the things that help the grief be nurtured in a transformative way that becomes the root of compassion.

Carving dolls and bears and knitting and weaving are an important part of my way of healing.

In the next post about the Teddy Bear that Pollydolly told me to carve, I’ll show you where she is sitting now. LINK

If you are grieving, please know that you are not alone. There is so much to grieve right now, and we all have to find our way through it. Blessings on your journey!

With love! ❤

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Larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls

I have been carving a series of dolls that are intended to bring comfort, inspiration and delight.

I call them, Vasilisa Comfort Dolls. They began as very small dolls but the series has branched out in several directions:

Small Vasillisa Comfort Dolls LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series: LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are Lucet Cord makers: LINK

These Vasilisa Comfort dolls are larger than the original ones….

This photo gives a sense of the size difference:

ARCH SHAPE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS

HELPING HANDS:

In gratitude for all ways that people help one another. 3 1/2 inches/9 cm tall

THE BLESSING CUP: SOLD

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

“Being a Mother and Being a Daughter”

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

SWEET DREAMS:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

A BLESSING FOR THE CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

AND THIS GROUP OF LARGE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS HAVE JOINTED ARMS:

“Sunflower Song” We’ll never see Sunflowers in the same way again, will we? Praying for Peace in Ukraine and an end to the invasion

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

ROSIE:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

BUTTERFLY DREAMS

I did the tatting, using shuttles that I carved myself. She’s about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

DREAM CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall (GLASS BACKGROUND NOT INCLUDED)

SURPRISE and her BABY

Surprise was a fascinating doll to create…. she kept taking me in new directions…. including wanting a baby…..

With her hat, Surprise is almost 8 inches/20 cm tall

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING ONE OR MORE OF THESE DOLLS, PLEASE LEAVE ME A NOTE IN THE COMMENTS (IT WON’T BE PUBLISHED) AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU ASAP

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Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series

The Great Mother series of my one of a kind hand carved Vasilisa Comfort Dolls have their roots in my feelings of connection to the Feminine Divine.

I am influenced by images of the Goddess in all her ways of Being, as well as the Black Madonna, and by my dreams, drawings and tapestries, as well as my love of Sacred Geometry. I have a passion for flowers, especially the wild roses that bloom so freely here in Western Canada, so they are an important element in my work- for their connection to the Feminine Divine and for how they symbolize how I am rooted to the land I gratefully live on.

Each of these Great Mother Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is an expression of healing energy and of all the ways that LOVE unfolds in us and around us. My intention is to create one of a kind dolls that will lift the heart of the person who interacts with them.

I also see these dolls as a way of connecting our Present Self to our Future Self, and also to the Inner Child that still lives inside of each of us.

They are lovely to hold in the palm of your hand, but also to have in a special place like an altar or on a shelf with other treasured objects of contemplation, meditation and prayer.

I use all kinds of wood to carve them. I love using upcycled wood (including pieces of old pianos that have come to the end of their playing life, so our friend, a piano tuner, passes pieces of wood from the dead pianos to wood carvers and furniture makers to ensure that the wood is re-created into something lovely).

We are often given logs or pieces of trees from our neighborhood to burn in our wood burning stove.

But, we don’t want to just burn these precious trees that have lived long and lovely lives and then died.

So, my husband has built a sawmill from an old bandsaw, and he cuts slabs of wood from the pieces of log so we can make art with the wood, giving new life to the trees.

Here’s one of the Great Mother Dolls on one of the slabs (I carved her from another one of the slabs):

The chainsaw marks were really hard to sand out! Luckily, Jim’s sawmill now cuts us much smoother pieces of wood! This tree was a maple, so the wood is very hard.

The average height of the Great Mother dolls is about 4 inches, but it does vary with some of the dolls.

If you wish to purchase one of the Great Mother dolls, please post a note in the comments and I will get back to you asap.

GREAT MOTHER: DREAMING OF PEACE (MOTHER AND CHILD)

GREAT MOTHER: HOSPITALITY:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- “Grace”
Can you see how my tapestries influence the way I carve?

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Holding Close

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Water of Life

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Dream of Greening

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Rose Child

I have placed her on a fused glass piece that I recently designed and made, that is not for sale as it is going to become part of a larger piece.

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Paradox

It can be challenging to live with paradox….

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Forgive

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series has subsets –

One of the groupings that has emerged is the ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Here are the first 3…. Singing Together:

I love how they work together. I drew their shapes on the wood all at the same time, so it makes sense to me that they would form such a good trio.

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Bending, Not Broken

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Courage

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Dreams of Roses and Greening

GREAT MOTHER: Courage (Dreaming and Waking) 

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

and at  LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

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A collection of available Vasilisa Comfort Dolls Feb 2022

In my previous post, I showed photos of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are Lucets and also some Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that were inspired by and an homage to the Orkney Venus. LINK

If you would like to buy one of the Vasilisa Comfort dolls please post a comment and I will get back to you asap. (your comment won’t be public)

THE GREAT MOTHER Vasilisa Comfort Dolls can be seen at LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

‘CHOICES’ Vasilisa Comfort Dolls:

Making decisions can be so challenging right now…. The Choices Vasilisa Comfort Doll is great at helping to make choices. ‘Yes’ on one side…. for a Wholly ‘Yes’
And, ‘No’ on the other…. for the Holy ‘No’……

HOME:

Listening for Wisdom, The Owl as Guide:

TOUCH THE EARTH:

Peace….

I carved these Vasilisa Comfort Dolls from Walnut to give them darker skin tones:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Singing a New Song
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Mother and Child
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Dream Guide

Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Storyteller/Storykeeper/Guardian of the Books
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) The Heart of Lovingkindness
This Vasilisa Comfort Doll is a necklace made with a beaded lucet cord. She has a tatted necklace around her neck, made with a tatting shuttle that I carved myself.

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Starbaby:

This group of Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is influenced by Goddess imagery:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Serenity
Vasilisa Comfort Doll She Guides the Journey
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Dreaming Rabbit

This last group of Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is all about my love of flowers:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Rosebud Inner Child
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Healing Laughter in the Blossom
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Protected by the Flowers

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AvailableVasilisa Comfort Dolls updated Feb 5 2022- Lucets and Orkney Venus

This past year has been the year of carving dolls for me.

Here is the first post about a collection of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are currently available- please send me a note if you would like to adopt one.

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

THE GREAT MOTHER Vasilisa Comfort Dolls can be seen at LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

To see the explanation about how and why I have been carving the Vasilisa Comfort dolls, click this LINK

If you would like to buy one of the Vasilisa Comfort dolls please post a comment and I will get back to you asap. (your comment will not be listed publicly)

How to make cord with Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucets: Here and Here

VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS THAT ARE LUCETS:

Healing– May all Beings be Well, May All Beings Everywhere Be Healed…..
This Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucet is a prayer for all the animals that are suffering because of the war in Ukraine.

I have started a new series of Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucets:

She’s the first in a series of Vasilisa dolls that I am calling: “I Hold this in my Heart”.

This first one was a challenge for me…..There is so much unhappiness in the world right now, that I was daunted to even suggest that we still need to hold happiness in our heart, but I am convinced that we do need to find happy moments each day.

I Hold This In My Heart: Happy

Hope is essential, isn’t it?

I Hold This In My Heart: HOPE

Vasilisa Comfort doll- The Gardener
Vasilisa Comfort doll- Flower Baby

THE QUEEN BEE AND LADYBUG LUCETS:

The Queen Bee with round black glasses is slightly larger than the Queen Bee with red glasses and the Ladybug is a tiny bit smaller than either Bee.

VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS INSPIRED BY THE ORKNEY VENUS:

Last summer, my daughter read about the Orkney Venus, an ancient, charming tiny stone figure found in an archeological dig in Scotland in 2009.

Here’s a link to an interesting article: LINK

I was so taken with the sweet little figure that I had to carve a series of Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort dolls. My homages to the Orkney Venus are bigger than the ancient original….

Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll with Rose and a pin on her back to wear as a shawl pin or on a hat, bag or lapel. 3 1/4 inches tall
Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll also with a pin on her back to wear her as a pin. 2 1/2 inches tall.
Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll Song of the Sea is 3 inches tall. (no pin on her back)
The smallest Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll has a small rose on her front and a spiral and larger rose on her back. She is 2 1/2 inches tall (no pin on her back)

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

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How to make lucet cord with the Bee and Ladybug Vasilisa Doll lucets

In my previous post, LINK, I showed how to make lucet cord with the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that have peg legs.

There are also links to a whole slew of videos that I have made about what to make with lucet cord in that post.

I have made another video tutorial that shows how to make lucet cord with the Bee and Ladybug Vasilisa Doll lucets that I design and make.

Here’s the for the video:

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Carved Wooden Vasilisa Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay

(UPDATE: Many of the dolls in this post have sold. To see which of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls are available,

please go to LINK 1 and LINK 2)

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

I have been carving wooden dolls non-stop for the past year.

I’ve been working on several series of dolls.

One of the series that has brought me great joy is my ‘Vasilisa Comfort Dolls’ group.

I call them this because of the Russian folktale, Vasilisa the Brave. Vasilisa’s mother knows that she is dying, so she makes her darling daughter a doll that embodies all the mother love in her heart.

The little doll acts as a guide and comfort for Vasilisa throughout the story.

My Vasilisa dolls are also an embodiment of love, and even though they look very simple, they are deeply heartfelt, contemplative, meditative and powerfully healing.

I have used all kinds of wood- some it is from old pianos that died and the wood was given to me, some of it is from trees that were pruned or felled because of old age, some is from old furniture or planks of upcycled wood in other forms. There is a very small amount of new bought wood, as I prefer to plant trees, rather than use them up. Upcycling soothes me.

I have separated the Vasilisa Dolls into different categories.

Many of them are meant to be held in the palm of your hand or carried in a pouch (carrying them in a pocket with coins, keys, pebbles etc is not recommended, but on their own in a pocket is fine).

The Vasilisa dolls are all about 2 1/2 inches tall.
Just perfect to be embraced in your hand…. and held to your heart!

Here are the ‘Square Body’ Vasilisa’s dolls

Some of them have cords, because they are necklaces.

Some have dear little wooden legs that turn them into lucets, so they can make cords.

Some of them have brass nail antennae that also allow them to be used as lucets.

Some of them have lucet cord arms that allow them to hug your finger, thumb or house plant.

Here are the ‘Heart Shape’ body Vasilisa dolls:

Here are the Round Shape Body Vasilisa Dolls:

The group of Vasilisa dolls in the photo below all have pins on their backs so they can be worn as brooches.

The group in the next photo are necklaces and I realize that some of these should have been in the Goddess photo, too, but, you know… keeping everything straight…..

The group in the photo below are all Lucets (and I’ll send a pdf on how to use them as well as links to 8 video tutorials on lucet cord making with these Vasilisa dolls)

These are the Finger Hugging Vasilisa Dolls:

These Vasilisa dolls are based on Goddess energy and inspired by Goddess imagery:

The Vasilisa dolls are great for storytelling…..

I couldn’t resist making one little Vasilisa Snowlady 🙂

They are for sale and range in price from $25 to $95 +shipping, just send me a message or note.

Not all of them are still available.

I am quite emotional about posting them, as they have been such a source of healing for me through the pandemic…. I hope that you can feel all the love in them, too. ❤

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Carved Little Wooden Teddy Bears

I took a break from social media last summer and spent my time carving and weaving 😊

One of the oh so fun series that I carved are these little bears with moveable arms and legs.

These darling little wooden Teddy Bears are approximately 3 1/2 inches tall, although Teddy F is 4 inches tall.

They fit perfectly in the palm of your hand and are very cuddly.

I carved them from very old Douglas Fir.

Teddy A has sold.

Teddy C has a ‘Birthmark’ on the left hand side of his/her face, from a tiny branch that revealed itself in the carving.

He/she wears an oak acorn cap from the lovely oak trees around the corner from us.

Teddy D has sold.

Teddy F is painted gold, but all the others are varnished.

They are all $95 each + shipping

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Tatting Shuttles by Noreen Crone-Findlay and useful video links too

Tatting is one of my most favorite things- I never leave the house without a little tin or pouch that has tatting shuttles, thread, a tiny hook and tiny scissors in it.

I have been busy in the woodworking room again… carving more Goddess and Hedgehog tatting shuttles.

Until the end of the year, I will be reducing the price of the Goddess shuttles to $39 + shipping and the Hedgehogs to $25 + shipping.

Please message me if you are interested.

Here are some helpful videos about my Goddess Tatting shuttles:

This video shows how to wind thread onto the Goddess Tatting shuttles:https://youtu.be/94vbtAd9THg

This video shows how to weave with the Goddess tatting shuttles:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN5RZ5_JZPM/

This video shows how to add a cord so you can wear the Goddess tatting shuttle as a necklace:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN2ppKup68P/

How to tat a necklace cord:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN8AV6HJAW2/

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