Category Archives: personal stuff

Time out when being properly sick

Last summer, a friend said that she needed the time it takes when being properly sick….

And now, I am in a time of being properly sick, too….

Last Saturday, after a few days of testing negative….

And a week of being oh so sick….

And, today…. still positive….

But, happily my lovely husband, who has been ahead of me on this journey, is now testing negative, so hopefully, I will too, and the sooner the better.

Luckily, we were fully vaxxed, which makes me very grateful, because the thought of going through this without having done that doesn’t bear thinking of.

Hopefully, I will be feeling much better really quickly and will happily be through it.

Stay safe, be well!

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A favorite loom for weaving narrow bands

One of my favorite forms of weaving is narrow band weaving.

This little loom is one of my most favorite looms ever.

I designed and built it over many years, starting with an antique wooden butter box that is older than I am.

My father in law used several of them in his workshop as drawers.

When he passed, we inherited one of them and slowly over the years, I have built this small loom with it.

Back in 2015, I posted about the beginnings of this little loom. Here’s the LINK to that post.

I am working hard on finishing up several new pieces to apply to enter them into a show.

I am using the narrow bands woven on this loom in some of the new pieces.

It makes me so happy to weave on this loom…. it feels like it came out of a fairy tale.

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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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Filed under carved wooden dolls, carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, grief, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, personal stuff, upcycling, weaving & handwoven, wooden dolls, woodwork

Fused Glass and Welded Steel Heart and Hands

My husband, Jim Findlay, and I really enjoy co-creating.

He has always had a penchant for welding and metal smithing, and because of the pandemic, was able to explore his love of metal working more.

He’s a musician, and has had almost all his gigs cancelled for the last 2 years.

So he re-directed his creativity into his woodworking and metalsmithing.

Seeing what he was up to inspired me…. I’ll show you more pictures of some of our co-creations later…

I have loved the ‘Heart and Hand’ blessing image from folk tradition and worked with it in various ways for decades.

I asked Jim if he would be into welding hands that I could add hearts and cuffs to in various ways.

He liked that idea.

And then, we started taking Fused Glass classes, and we got all excited about making the

hearts and cuffs in Fused Glass. We loved working together on the glass. It’s magical!

We decided that this was the perfect Christmas gift for several family members.

We took the class several times over the spring, summer and autumn to hone our skills.

(We make Christmas presents all year long, so it’s part of our rhythm as a couple.)

It took a lot of trial and error to get the hands just right, and so Jim built a very

nifty jig to shape the rods. (Lots of cutting and welding was involved!)

We are sooooo pleased with how the Hearts and Hands turned out.

They were totally made with love in every step!

One of our family members said that hanging it in her window

would be like waving to her neighbours, and sending love out into the world.

I was delighted when she said that, because that is exactly what the Heart and Hands are meant to be!

They are a symbol of welcome, but also of protection, too….

and the metaphor of saying that only good things are welcome is pretty significant these days.

We learned a lot while making the Hearts and Hands.

We have also started exploring including wooden hearts that I sculpt from offcuts of fallen trees that have been given to us for firewood, but Jim has been milling into usable lumber rather than just chopping for the wood burning stove.

( We sent the first one of the sculpted wooden heart version off to friends without remembering to take a pic of it, but will make more and then photograph them.)

The Heart and Hands were the inspiration for making the cardboard folders

that I wrote about in my last blog post. LINK

This has been an alchemical journey!

We feel the Heart and Hands are something that we want to continue to work with,

and see how they evolve.

And, in the meantime, they will be waving from a few windows, sending love out into the world!

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An Old Gnome got a new coat of paint and a view of my studio

Many years ago, I bought a vintage gnome at a garage sale.

Rather liked that he had weathered off all his paint, and yet was still steadfastly all in one piece.

Last month, when I was weaving hearts for the window, I decided to add gnomes to the window, and the old fellow didn’t look cheerful enough to add to the gaity.

So I painted him:

It struck me as being odd that he didn’t have a mustache, so I added one, using my much loved old ‘Gnomes’ book as a guide.

I tried to add the Bunny to the window, but he’s too big and floppy, so he’s sitting in a corner of the studio instead.

I designed him many years ago for Canadian Living magazine.

Here’s a link to the pattern for him and his sweetheart: KNITTED BUNNIES

And, then, I took pics of some of the other things in that corner of the studio.

Including a little video:

And then I totally forgot to blog about Gnomes and Bunnies and looms.

It’s a crazy time.

Hope you are well ❤

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Filed under free pattern, knitting, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, personal stuff

Handspun Alpaca for ANOTHER new book

HURRAH!  In 2020, my publisher (Stackpole books) will be releasing not just one new book from me (I was hard at work for almost all of 2018 on it), but-

WHEEE-   while I was working sooooooooo hard on the book that will be released in January of 2020, I was also busting my chops on laying the foundation for the NEXT book that I am writing.

And, the good news is that they will be publishing the NEXT book  in the fall of 2020, so most of 2019 will have me hard at work on it.

In fact, I am happily working on it now.

Last summer, my friends, Teresa and Darren Griffith gave me a huge bag of fluffy, fabulous fuzz from 4 of their gorgeous alpacas.

I don’t have a drum carder, so I hand carded and carded and carded it all and spun and spun and spun….

this basket of yummy yarn….

It may not look like much, but there is over a kilogram of yarn in that basket!

I thought that Teresa was brilliant to staple a lock of fleece from each of the alpacas to a card, so I would remember the name of each of the sweet alpacas who donated their loveliness!

And, now, I am joyfully weaving the alpaca yarn and will be including it in the NEXT book.

Hurrah!

and a thousand thanks to Teresa and Darren for their amazing generosity! ❤ and blessings to them both

 

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

Antique Teneriffe Lace Loom

I have been absent from the world of social media for quite awhile- I was working to deadline on a book.

It swallowed me completely, and I vanished for awhile.  (I met the deadline! Yay!  And my editor likes it! Yay!)

But then, I got sick (ugh) and have been taking naps to recover, and didn’t have the jam to deal with blogging or dealing with the interwebs, so I didn’t.

Now, I’m on the mend.  And, working on new projects.

And taking lots of naps.

Oh my… this afternoon, something delicious happened that has made me need to pop back into the world of bloggdom.

A gift….

Today, I received a wonderful little package in the mail.

It was from my sister.  ❤

In the box was this little, oh so magical wee box of delights.

I opened the tiny old box and squealed with joy-

Such loveliness!

A treasure that my sister’s dear mother in law had found at an antique sale, bless her heart!

My sister has been cherishing this precious little box of heaven and, (bless her heart, too),  decided that I would enjoy it, so she mailed it to me. ❤

Sigh…. so much happiness in a little package!

I love Teneriffe lace and was ecstatic to see the awesome little brass loom.

And, a hairpin lace loom and some bone tools that will be lovely to use in small loom weaving.

I had to warp up the Teneriffe loom- how could I resist?

The little Teneriffe motif is wonky as all get out, but I think I should send it to my sister, doncha think?

PS:  (added the day after I originally posted about the Teneriffe Loom) I’ve been working with the Teneriffe Lace Loom, and have polished up my technique as I am working on a video to show how to do this technique with upcycled materials.

Here’s today’s version: 😀

Teneriffe lace loom 8-c

 

 

 

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Cutting garments into fabric strips to weave and knit

Recently,  I made a video about cutting up garments to upcycle them by weaving or knitting with the fabric strips.

In early October of 2017, my son in law’s step-dad passed away.

This was, of course, very hard on our grandson.

I talked with him about what it meant to him to have his ‘other’ grampa (not my husband) pass away.

I asked him if he needed something of his grampa’s to hold onto, and he said yes.

So, I asked for a couple of Bill’s shirts so I could make comfort critters with them.

I cut them up and wove them into kittys, as that was what my grandson asked for, so he has one, and other family members have them too.  (I didn’t photograph all of them).

I also knitted a teddy bear for one of our relatives, as he is definitely a teddy bear guy 🙂

The bear and kittys have been well received and they do carry the love that went into every stitch of making them.

I’ve done this before, and have found that ‘compassion critters’ made from upcycled clothing of a dear one is very comforting for people in grief.

Every little thing helps….

Here’s the video:

The woven kitties and knitted bear are made from the following patterns:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/88710…

and https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/27430…

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A Butterfly to make on the Lucet

Butterflies are the symbol of transformation, and since everyone I know seems to be experiencing some kind of transformative experience or another,  it seems to me to be a good time to make some little butterflies.

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

They are very quick and easy to make, using a Lucet – although you can also use spool knitted cord, if you prefer.

They can be used to embellish anything that you can think of, or can be stitched to a ribbon for a book mark, or have a pin sewn to the back so they can be worn on a hat, bag, scarf or lapel.  They can be attached to a key ring.

They can be used in scrapbooking or card making.

It’s lovely to have one in your pocket to give to a friend who just needs a little comfort…..

Here’s the video for how to make the butterflies:

We are in deep, cold, snowy mid winter in Western Canada, so it’s lovely to have butterflies flittering about the studio, even if I had to make them myself!  🙂

That just reminded me of something that I hadn’t thought of in years….

My mother used to give us ‘Butterfly Kisses’, which were a quick little flutter of her eyelashes on our cheeks.

That’s a dear memory to suddenly pop up…  sweet!

Butterfly kisses all round! ❤

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