Category Archives: upcycling

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.

HERE IS A LINK TO THE BOOK AND SAFFRON LOOM KIT that is available on the Mirrix website. LINK

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!

11 Comments

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

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

21 Comments

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

17 Comments

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

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?

 

8 Comments

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

Learning to love the surprises when carving wooden dolls

I absolutely love carving wooden dolls, and have learned that the dolls have ways of taking me in unexpected directions while I am carving them.

This little bunny was carved from upcycled maple wood- a huge tree in our neighbourhood was cut down and we were given enormous chunks of the trunk.

I knew that a bunny was waiting to be carved from the wood,

but didn’t expect her to insist on a different body than I initially carved….

and then to want to go back to her original body once I had done more carving on it.

This lead me to make some changes and now, there are 2 rabbits, where once there was just one….

I was VERY surprised by this new rabbit, and am delighted with the ideas that she has brought with her!

Luckily, ‘Maple’ Bunny and ‘Surprise Rabbit’ are the best of friends:

I’ve made a tiny video that is all about going with the flow when creating one of a kind wooden dolls.

It also has a slide show showing the step by step process of carving a Maple Bunny’s head.

I hope that you have some lovely surprises and not unwelcome ones!

Take good care ❤

Leave a comment

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

Respite from world events in carving spoons with love

This difficult week that our world has gone through made me want to carve out images of love, delight, sweetness and joy.

And, so I did.

My son upcycled trees that had died and had to be cut down, and made me blanks for my carving.

A Manitoba Maple from the yard of the parents of friends has re-incarnated as a mermaid.

I could feel the Mermaid in the piece of Maple, and so I carved this Mermaid spoon.

I wanted her to look like the ocean carved her, even when it was me who did.

My son rescued the wood from a dead chokecherry tree and made me spoon carving blanks.

The chokecherry wood became heart and hand spoons, 2 sweet little sisters and a woman who dreamt of dancing with the moon….

The chokecherry wood is almost translucent while it’s being carved and takes lots of coats of oil and several days of resting after it’s carved to start changing color.

Heart and hand images are dear to my heart and I find it very healing to carve them.

The first one is a spoon that is like a magic wand, asking to be waved in the air to stir up common sense and loving, calling out to appreciative hearts, full of compassion and gratitude.

The chokecherry tree died awhile ago, but it’s heart lives on.

It really wanted to be another Heart and Hand, and this one called to me to add color by including beads.

The pebbles in the palm of the hand and the bowl of the heart are not attached.

They just jumped in because they wanted to be in the pictures.

A whole lot more heart and hand carved spoons are waiting in a pile of upcycled wood from trees that have died, but are living on as carved spoons!

Two darling little sisters called out to me and asked me to carve them as spoon dolls.

The first is a sweet bunny who is excellent at giving bunny/upcycled chokecherry tree hugs.

I carve the arms on my spoon dolls from sections of wood that I cut away while I am cutting out the rough outline with the scroll saw.

It’s important to me that I carve their arms from the exact same piece of wood that they are made from, and of course, I have to make the arms moveable.

All the better to deliver hugs when the world is needing so much love….

I am enchanted by these little wooden beings who reveal themselves to me as I carve them.

I am guided by what they want.

No, I am not bonkers,

I don’t hear voices 😀

but I do feel that I am guided by the spirit of the tree in asking me to do what it wants and to let it be what it needs to be.

Birds obviously must have loved the chokecherry tree that now lives on in my carvings.

I am sure of this,  because as I was carving the wood from the dead chokecherry tree,

a little bird asserted it’s claim to sit upon the head of the kitty who is clearly the sister of the hugging bunny.

The kitty is quite happy to listen to all the little bird has to say about sunshine and  wind and rain and other stories the chokecherry tree still whispers of it’s days of bloom in spring, berries in summer and autumn and cold roots in winter.

Sometimes, a piece takes me totally by surprise.

I thought that this was going to be one thing and it turned out to be something totally different!

At first, after many many hours of carving the chokecherry wood, I thought that I had completely failed and that the spoon doll who was fighting me was destined to become firewood.

I tried to give up and go to bed, but no way, she wasn’t having any of that!

I could feel the wood trying to get me to see what was supposed to be happening, and I was drawn in, hour after hour, carving and carving and carving until finally at 3 am, I had an ‘aha’ and felt like I had gotten to where I was supposed to go with this spoon doll.

I jumped out of bed the next day, after not enough sleep, and immersed myself in this spoon doll, but this time, knowing what she was asking for.

She wanted me to see that she was a dreamer, dancing with the moon on her head.

Perhaps the chokecherry tree had loved feeling the touch of moonlight on it’s branches?

The spoon doll made it clear to me that she wanted NO embellishment, only to be allowed to shimmer in the light of the moon.

Okay.

I did, however, allow a little pearl to sneak into the photos. The Moon Dancing Dreamer was fine about it. Gracious, in fact.

I am utterly captivated by the joy (and challenges) of carving ‘raw’ upcycled wood that might have ended up at the land fill or simply being burned as firewood.

It’s alchemy to listen to the wood and let it lead me in transforming it in ways that surprise and delight me.

I look forward to continuing this adventure!

2 Comments

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

How to Make a Tutu for Dolls Using Upcycled Cloth Tea Bags

For links to video on how to upcycle cloth tea bags into Teabag Yarn, and how to weave triangles with it,  please go to: LINK

I love finding fun and unique ways to upcycle things, and so I have had so much fun turning cloth tea bags into yarn and weaving with it, to make tutus for the Merrie Sunshine and Mermaid Minnie Moonbeam dolls.

For the main page about Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam dolls, please go to: LINK

Here is the video that shows how to make the Upcycled Tea Bag Tutu:

Leave a comment

Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, eco crafts & green projects, free pattern, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, mermaid, Merrie Sunshine & Minnie Moonbeam Wooden Dolls, pin loom, potholder loom, tutorial & how to, upcycling, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven, wooden dolls

Tips for Weaving With Teabag Yarn on the Diagonal on Potholder Looms

One of my favorite things is to find creative new ways to make small looms even more useful by thinking ‘outside the box’ on how I weave with them.  So, that’s what this video is about….

Here it is: Tips for Weaving with Teabag Yarn on the Diagonal on Potholder Looms-

By the way, I made a video showing how to upcycle cloth tea bags (not paper ones) to make Teabag Yarn.

Here’s the Link to that video: TEABAG YARN HOW TO

Happy Weaving and Happy Upcycling!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, potholder loom, tutorial & how to, upcycling, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

How to Weave Using Upcycled Teabag Yarn 2 Nails at a Time on Pin Looms

If you want to weave with bulky yarn on a pin loom, it can be challenging.

I’ve made a video, using Upcycled Teabag yarn (here’s the link on how to make upcycled Teabag Yarn: LINK) as the bulky yarn for this example.

When you weave using 2 nails at a time on a pin loom, you can open up all kinds of possibilities for working with art yarns, fabric strip yarn and other bulky yarns.

It’s quick and easy and adds so much creative potential to pin loom weaving.  Yay!

Here’s the how-to video:

Leave a comment

Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, pin loom, tutorial & how to, upcycling, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

How to Upcycle Cloth Tea Bags into Teabag Yarn

Ahhh, tea!  One of life’s great pleasures!

Some teas come in cloth tea bags that can’t be composted, so instead of throwing them in the garbage,

here’s a great way to upcycle the bags into yarn that you can weave with (or knit or crochet).

I’ve made a video about how to cut the cloth tea bags into fabric yarn-

What can you do with upcycled tea bag yarn?

Weave with it as if it’s regular yarn… for instance, here are a Star , a Dragonfly and Heart woven on pin looms that I designed for Dewberry Ridge Looms

Or: Make upcycled brooches- here’s a video showing how:

More videos  about weaving with teabag yarn –

How to Weave Using Upcycled Teabag Yarn 2 Nails at a Time on Pin Looms:

AND:

 

 

AND:

3 Comments

Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, eco crafts & green projects, gifts & easy to make gifts & presents, Heart Loom, jewelry, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, tutorial & how to, upcycling