Category Archives: Tottie Tomato Loves

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

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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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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Best Friends- Two Little Carved Dolls have an Adventure

In my previous blog post (LINK),

I told the story of how a piece of kindling wood refused to go into the fire,

and became a Spoon Doll named, Dot,

who was able to have a friend, Sybbie- a very small Mermaid, live upstairs.

After the trials and tribulations of being carved and painted and shellac-ed and sanded and all that,

Dot and Sybbie finally got to go on an adventure around the studio.

First of all, after Sybbie was comfortably settled in ‘upstairs’, she and Dot when off to visit a

small, but intrepid Cowgirl:

who was riding a Unicorn!

The Unicorn was very gentle and friendly and suggested that

Dot and Sybbie go visit the Bunny with Wings.

So they did:

They had a lovely visit with the Bunny with Wings,

who asked them if they had been to the Castle on the Hillside yet?

Oooh…. not yet, so off they tootled.

Sybbie and Dot enjoyed touring the Castle on the Hillside.

They found it rather tiring, so decided that they had had enough adventures for one day.

And, they went home and had a lovely cup of tea,

and this time, Sybbie did remember to write her adventures down in her journal-

so I could share them with you.

 

 

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An Inspiring Piece of Firewood

Inspiration pops up in the most unexpected places.

Last week, I was building a fire in our little wood burning stove.

A piece of kindling stopped me in my tracks…

It said: “Don’t burn me! There’s something special about me- wait till you see what’s inside me!”

so, I took it to the studio…. And, Tottie Tomato listened to what the piece of kindling

(from a tree that fell down in our neighborhood)

had to say.

A raggedy, curvy, bent, rough piece of upcycled wood that didn’t want to be burned,

told me a story about a Spoon Doll that was looking for a Best Friend to live upstairs….

So, I cut and carved and chisled and shaped…

Until she was ready to find her best friend.

I walked through the house, looking for the best friend who would live upstairs and have

adventures with ‘Dot’.

This oddly shaped Spoon Doll was telling me that the unusual basket ? or crown? ???

Was the ‘upstairs’ where her friend would live and that they were going to enjoy each other’s company.

Well…. friendship is one of life’s dearest treasures, so I listened when this little emerging Wooden Person

Asked a small mermaid, Siobhan, if she would like to move in ‘upstairs’.

Siobhan was delighted, and agreed to a little bit of carving adjustment so that she would fit her new accommodations:

Here’s Siobhan, all in pieces as she became smaller so she could move into her new shared home.

Dot provided comfort as Siobhan underwent her renovations.

After a lot of carving and sanding and painting and making of new joints,

the newly tiny Siobhan announced that since she is now smaller, that she wants a ‘Smaller Person Name’,

and that she is now to be known as ‘Sybbie’.

It was now time for Dot to receive her arms and to have a coat or two of shellac applied.

Dot objected, thinking that she didn’t like the sound of ‘shellac-ing’, so Tottie Tomato and Sybbie comforted her.

Tottie and Sybbie were getting in the way of progress, so I asked them to please move to the sofa to wait.

I gave them a journal to write in and a book to read, but I don’t think that they did either.

Spoon Doll Dot was very relieved to be completely finished, and needed a few moments to recover from

the whole carving and finishing thing.

Sybbie and Tottie Tomato told her that they had been through it all, too, so they were very sympathetic.

Brave little Sybbie even consented to being re-carved more than once to get to her final happy state!

Tottie Tomato had to go see to something else in the studio, so she left Dot and Sybbie to plan their

first great adventure.

Postcards from their first trip around the studio (their world as they know it so far)

will be posted in the next blog post.   (Here is the link: LINK)

 

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Tottie and the Starspoon Sisters

We are in the throes of a huge winter storm.   We had one in November, but have had almost no snow since and remarkably warm and pleasant weather.

Luckily, we are blessed to be safe and warm, and this morning in the studio, Tottie Tomato had visitors.

She heard a sound at the Story Door, so she went to investigate.

It was the 3 Starspoon Sisters with a delivery of stars to add a little sparkle to a grey and stormy day.

Birch Starspoon was joined by her sisters,

Basswood Starspoon and

Cedar Starspoon.

The Starspoon Sisters and Tottie were all feeling a little chilly from the raging winds outside the studio windows.

So, they all had a cup of tea while I went off to carve more dolly spoons.

Stay warm and be safe, be well and be kind ❤

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I forgot to Mention that a few years ago I carved a new Tottie Tomato doll for my blog

Oh my goodness, how can I have forgotten to mention that the original Tottie Tomato doll that I made oh so many years ago had to retire because she wore out?

She’s living happily with friends in comfort and ease in my studio-

When it became clear that she was in tough shape, I set to work carving a new incarnation of Tottie Tomato. (See my About page for the story of how Tottie Tomato originated).

Original Tottie supervised my carving of New Tottie.

And the painting, and the finishing, and the jointing, then the crochet and tatting of Little Tottie’s new dress.

The smaller incarnation of Tottie Tomato is fine and fiesty and

Retired Tottie approves completely.

Tottie still goes off to the Story door-

and enjoys picnics there with friends –

She watches carefully while I create more friends for her….

and loves getting to know them…

Tottie Tomato is pleased that I have finally- FINALLY- given her a PROPER introduction and she sends you her hugs and love ❤

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

Needle book woven on the Thumbelina loom

Many of our friends are in the process of selling and buying houses, and moving to new homes.

We’re holding them in our hearts and wishing them the most joyful time in their new ‘Home Sweet Home’.

So, it’s natural that my tapestry diary would be about home sweet home.

I had an ‘aha’ moment when it struck me that using the ‘Home Sweet Home’ tapestry diary piece as the front cover of a needle book would be a fun thing to do.

What’s a needle book?  It’s a way of storing and carrying your craft and sewing needles so they don’t get lost in a project bag or box or disappear inside a  pincushion.

So…. tahdah!

A ‘Home Sweet Home’ needle book woven on the Thumbelina loom…

Thumbelina Needle book 8 (c)

In order to weave the spine of the needlebook, you need to be able to weave a narrow rectangle on the Thumbelina,

so, I made a video on how to make the Thumbelina Needle book.

And, the video shows how to weave the narrow band:

Thumbelina Needle book 8 a (c)

Here’s the needle book open:

Thumbelina Needle book 9 (c)

Here’s the video:

 

By the way, you don’t have to weave a little tapestry for the cover of the needle book…. plain is fine, too!

Happy weaving!

 

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Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Thumbelina Loom, Tottie Tomato Loves, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

Thumbelina Loom Oh! Love! Love! Love!

I am in love.   Well, actually, I am in a lot of loves- with my husband, our kids, our grandson, our dogs, our beloved friends, our community…..

But, this ~new~ love  is serious ❤  loom love ❤ ,  like hashtagging #loomlove 😀  and ❤

Here she is:  The tiny, wee loom that has been the center of my attention for months now:  Thumbelina!

Thumbelina Loom happiness

Thumbelina Loom happiness

Thumbelina is very small, but she does all manner of wonderful things.

She weaves darling little arch shapes that are about an inch and a half wide and  2 1/2 inches long:

Thumbelina basic Arch shape

Thumbelina basic Arch shape

Thumbelina works like a lucet and a flat knitter so that you can create delightful things like little Sheep:

Baaaaaaa!

Baaaaaaa!

Must weave ALL the sheep!

Must weave ALL the sheep!

and Amulet bags and clip on pouches for tiny treasures:

Amulet bag with necklace cord, Click on pouch with lobster claw fitting to clip to keychains, purse, pocket etc.

Amulet bag with necklace cord, Click on pouch with lobster claw fitting to clip to keychains, purse, pocket etc.

And, woven flowers, to wear, and applique and and and….

Thumbelina loom woven flower

Thumbelina loom woven flower

AND: Darling little finger puppets and dolls. 

Tiny Thumbelina Finger Puppet cuddles an even tinier wooden doll carved by Noreen Crone-Findlay

Tiny Thumbelina Finger Puppet cuddles an even tinier wooden doll carved by Noreen Crone-Findlay

All of these treasures have their “how to make instructions” included with the loom.

This is the video that shows how to make the mini  Bunting or mini Banner with the Thumbelina loom:

 

To order the Thumbelina Loom, please go to: 

https://www.dewberryridge.com/products/thumbelina-lil-weaver

Thumbelina Li'l Weaver

And, now,  I am happily going to ignore the huge backlog of work that needs me to get to it.

Instead, I am going to play with Thumbelina!

Happy Weaving!!!

 

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Two of my hand carved Story Door Dolls for sale

I am selling two of my hand carved ‘Story Door’ dolls.

They are each 6 inches tall.

They are fully articulated and stand independently without doll stands, although they are known to play dominoes with other dolls and all fall down without giving notice.

Each of them comes with her hand woven dress and a hand woven shawl.

They are $150.00 each plus postage.

This is The Arbutus/Madrona Tree Story Door Doll:
Her head is tilted up so when she looks up at you quite winsomely.

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

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

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

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

This is the Birch Tree Story Door Doll:

 

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

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

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay www.tottietalkscrafts.com

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

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

 

 

If you would like to adopt either of these Story Door Dolls, hand carved by me, with their handwoven (also by me) please drop me a note.
:o)
Noreen

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