Category Archives: personal stuff

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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Filed under gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Lucet, personal stuff, tutorial & how to, video tutorial

My Peg Loom book won’t be published until 2017

I am utterly aghast.

My lovely, but now ~former~ editor has just let me know that Stackpole books has been bought by another publishing company.

My book, which is in the production layout stages will now not be released until late 2017.

I am so sorry for the people who have lost their jobs, and I am also so sad that my book has been delayed for more than a year.

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Filed under book review/book/books, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

A Gratitude Haircut

Our daughter, Chloe, had cancer a few years ago and came through it with flying colors and is wholly healthy now.

I decided to make a gratitude offering in thanks for her beautiful recovery and healing.

So, I decided that I would do a very simple thing that would be of service to people who need wigs while they are getting treatment.

(Luckily, Chloe didn’t loose her beautiful hair, but I have so many family and friends who did, that I decided that I wanted to do a little something for them.)

I grew my hair….

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

for a couple of years, until it was just above my waist.

Last week, Chloe and I went to the hair salon and she cut the back section of it off:

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

And the stylist cut off the sides, then shaped it:

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

It hasn’t looked like this since the day of the haircut, because I have no ability to use a dryer or curling iron, and miraculously, my hair that has always been straight as a ruler, has decided to be full of wild and unruly waves and curls.

I am astonished.  All my life, I have wanted curls or at least waves, and now I suddenly have them and don’t know what to do with them.

Except wear a hat.

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

That’s the big fat braid going to the Cross Cancer Clinic  in Edmonton Alberta.

The Cross Clinic asks people to bring their hair donations directly to them, as they have specific wig makers that they prefer to use.

They were pleased with the great big fat long  braid of hair that I brought them and I was so happy to make this donation.

May it bring some measure of happiness to the person who gets the wig with my hair in it.

If you find it easy to grow your hair, then perhaps you might consider doing a donation too?

Our daughter in law, Alliston,  has done the same thing, also in gratitude for Chloe’s fantastic outcome,  and she is now sporting a very spiffy and short new hairdo, too.

It was very emotional, and I am very happy to have done it.

And, um, since I have no skills whatsoever with hair, I am now officially growing my hair out again, but this time, for me.   🙂

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Filed under personal stuff

My grandson designs a truck

Last June, our grandson and I made a wooden doll together.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay  www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

We had fun doing it, but he didn’t express an interest in doing any more woodworking, so I haven’t brought it up.

BUT…. on Thursday, when we picked him up at Kindergarden, he was dancing with delight because it had ~finally~ been his turn for show and tell and he could hardly wait to show me what he had shared.

He proudly pulled his wooden doll out of his backpack and beamed at me. He was so happy!

Well, I did the ‘granny-swoon’- being washed over with gratitude at my darling boy’s choice of what was ~really~ precious to him.  Melt, melt, melt.

I asked him if he was interested in making more dolls and he said: ‘Of course!’.

I got a piece of wood and asked him if he was more interested in making a doll or a truck and he voted for truck.

He drew the truck and I cut it out on the band saw and sanded it for him.

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

We didn’t have time for paint, so he worked with markers and will use paint at home with his Mamma.

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

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

Sigh.  I LOVE these precious times. ❤

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Filed under personal stuff, woodwork

Teaching my young grandson how to carve a wooden doll

One of the joys of my life has always been doll making.

I have carved wooden dolls for as long as I remember, and I am now enjoying teaching my 5 year old grandson how to make wooden dolls, too.

I gave him a piece of wood, and had him draw a figure on it.

Then, I burned the lines he had drawn:

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

You can see to the right of his doll, a doll that his Mamma made when she was his age, and one that I am currently working on.

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

He chose some colors, and started adding them….

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

I cut her out with the bandsaw and he took her home, but wasn’t pleased that she had rough edges.

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

So, the next day, I took some of my tools over so he could work on sanding her and finishing her.

He’s already immersed in the family culture of being a Maker!

I’ve been giving him lessons on how to use a hand saw in a Zen way, as he tends to approach tools with wild abandon, which is not something I encourage at all.

Gently, gently, is my motto….

Ah, the bliss of being a granny….

my heart sings!

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Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, personal stuff, woodwork

Tottie Tomato settles into the new studio

Poor Tottie Tomato has been left sleeping in her antique wicker suitcase for the entire month since we moved to our new home.  That’s her suitcase behind her.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay tottietalkscrafts.com

I’ve been working so hard to set up our home and my studio, as well as working hard hard hard on the new book, that poor Tottie hasn’t seen the light of day.

But, it’s time to let little Ms Tomato settle into our new studio.

She likes it very much, even though it is waaaaaaaaay smaller than our old one.

She loves to help warp up the peg looms, which is good, as I am weaving and writing and photographing and and and … full steam ahead!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay tottietalkscrafts.com

It really feels like home, now that Tottie Tomato is out and about in the studio with me!

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Filed under Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, Tottie Tomato Loves, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

Writing a book while moving- eegads

Oh my word!

The flurry of activity at our house is just completely over the top!

My blog has ground to a stop, as I just can’t keep everything going all at once right now…

something had to give, and it’s been the blog.

Here’s a little (but no where near all) of what has been going on….

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

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

Really- there are things that simply shouldn’t be combined….

Like selling an acreage that you have lived on for 21 years and buying a house in the city….

Um… a large acreage that has accumulated a lot of stuff

(I know, I know, WE accumulated all that stuff…

it followed us home when we saw all it’s creative potential)

🙂

While working to deadline on a book (and doing all the photography and illustrations and diagrams AS WELL AS designing all the projects and weaving them all yourself…. )

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

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

eeks!  The deadline is looming – pardon the pun 🙂

BUT…. I am so incredibly inspired and excited by the designs and projects for the book that I am just over the moon.

And, am seeing rather a lot of the moon lately, as there aren’t enough hours in the day, so the hours in the night are full of the busy busy of it all.

I can’t show any of the projects yet, but, wheeeeeee!  I am just happy dancing and skippetty hopping over them.

I have been in love with peg loom weaving and weaving sticks for years, but that love has grown exponentially as I work on this book.

I am just boggled by the creative potential of the marvelously simple peg looms and weaving sticks.

In fact, I have passed along quite a few of my other, non-peg looms, because there is so much for me to explore with them that I just don’t have the time for many other of my looms.

Ah, the move: The downsizing, packing and dealing with all the insane bureaucratic hoop jumping has been epic.  Sheesh.

Just sheesh.

Oh yes… another leetle stressor in our lives is that we suddenly adopted a darling little puppy from a relative who couldn’t keep her.

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

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

She’s enchanting- but wasn’t housebroken, so that’s been a challenge- another of those ‘don’t do this at home’ kind of things.

House training a puppy in deep dreary freaking freezing cold mid winter is not fun.

That’s not quite true- she loves gazing at the birds and thinks trips outside are marvelous.  (When it’s a million below zero, I don’t share her enthusiasm)

She has taught me to keep my shoes in a box that she can’t get into…

(yes, she did chew my most expensive boots)

and to not leave my favorite glasses where she can get them

(yes,  she did chew them, and my ipod earbuds up)

and to not let balls of yarn drop to the floor

(she outdoes a kitten in her enthusiasm for yarnplay- face palm)

She’s a right proper little scalliwag but we do adore her and are so happy that she’s part of the family.

There’s a million other things going on in our lives right now, but I must get back to work, so I shall just zip away and weave up some wonderful-ness.

Cheerio and tootlepip… which is what we always say to our grandson when he heads home from our time together.

I probably won’t be posting again for a couple of weeks, as we are soon to be hefting and heaving ourselves into the new (smaller, much smaller) house in the city.

And, then, it’s serious overdrive on the book….

so…. cheerio for now….

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Filed under Peg and Stick Loom weaving, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book

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

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

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, peg looms and weaving sticks, personal stuff, weaving & handwoven, Writing a book