Category Archives: woodwork

Carved Wooden Vasilisa Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay

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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Filed under carved wooden dolls, carving wood, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Vasilisa dolls, wooden dolls, woodwork

Refurbishing Older Four Harness Table Looms

Late last summer and fall, I discovered that I can no longer use treadle looms because of a problem with one of my feet.

That came as a surprise, but I love table looms, so I sold my floor loom and quested after the perfect table loom.

I really enjoy fixing up old looms, so I happily adopted this dear old loom built by an unknown maker:

She was in really rough shape, so it took a lot of tender loving care to bring her back to life.

I had to build a new ratchet for her cloth beam and apply many many coats of oil to her dried out self. Poor old girl!

One of her toggles was totally messed up, so I replaced the cord and now it works beautifully.

She had a truly grim warp wrapped around her back beam, with crumbling newspaper from 1974 in the warp, so she had obviously been neglected for a long, long time.

She is now a cherished member of the loom clan in my studio and I wove a bunch of Tea Towels for Christmas presents on her. (LINK)

She’s a delight to weave on, and is definitely a keeper!

She’s warped up with mug rugs for next Christmas- we work on Christmas presents all year long, so it’s kind of fun to start the year off with the beginnings of next Christmas 🙂


And….. This is Caroline…. the newest vintage member of my loom family.

For years, I have been longing for a Woolhouse loom, but they stopped production, and the looms are so wonderful that they don’t come available very often.

I was ecstatic to find one online and was amazed to be able to buy her!

She joined my loom herd not that long ago and it’s been fun re-furbishing her.

We had an oops when we transported her home…

Whoops…. one of her little wooden gears disappeared into a snow bank when she got loaded into the back of the car. Luckily, I was able to cut down an old wooden spool and it works just fine.

The lady that I bought Caroline from told me that she found the texsolve heddles annoying because of a couple of issues.

She mentioned that the heddle frames didn’t drop when the levers were down.

Rather odd, but vintage looms can be quirky.

She had talked to someone who suggested adding weights to the frames.

This made sense to me, so I puzzled over how to do it, and settled on adding steel rods to the bottom of the heddle frames. Perfect!

She also found it frustrating that long strands of texsolve stuck out at the top of the frames and snagged on each other.

I fixed that by trimming the ‘eyelashes’ at the top edge- it helped solve that problem.

And, oh yes, the heddles were not inserted right, and bowed out all wonkywobbly, so I fixed that, too, and now Caroline’s as sweet a little weaving machine as can be!

BUT, oh my! There was one more surprise that threw me for a loop.

Out of the blue…. YIKES!

Good grief! one of the rods that connects a traveling cord to the levers suddenly broke when I was weaving. FLOP went a lever! What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

That had me appalled and my head was spinning…. I went to bed feeling quite upset.

But then, after thinking, sleeping and dreaming on it, I figured that I could probably fix it by bending another steel rod to as close as I could get to the shape of the broken one.

I figured out how to take apart the mechanism to get the old one out and then huffed and puffed as I bent and shaped the replacement.

It was fiddly, but not too hard to insert the new one.

and –

Voila! Caroline is now a happy little loomie! (whew! ) (and I know what to do now if it happens again with one of the other connector pieces).

You can see in this pic that one of these things is not like the others… but it works a fair treat!

Anyhow, now, she weaves like a dream.

Her shed is quite small, so I use stick shuttles on her, and enjoy her most enormously!

Oh… another thing I did…

Somehow, she seemed to be asking for a little bit of embellishment, so I cut small wooden pieces and drew some things that are precious to me on them.

Then I wood burned and painted them and stuck them on in places that wouldn’t get in the way.

Caroline approves.

Both of these dear old looms were a lot of work to bring to life again, but what a joy it is to know them so well and to feel them purring!

They are pure happiness to weave on and I hope that I have a lot of years of weaving bliss with them, and then, of course, at some point, they will move on to another weaver whom I hope will love them as much as I do! But, not for a long time…. 🙂

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Filed under 4 harness weaving, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

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 a tutu, a tatted vest and painted boots.

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

They are all $75 each + shipping

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Filed under carved wooden teddy bears, carving wood, teddy bear, woodwork

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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Filed under carving wood, Goddess tatting shuttles, Hedgehog tatting shuttles, lace making, tatting, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, woodwork

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!

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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

Charlotte Mermaid

Last month, I posted about Bedelia Mermaid, whom I carved from a very hard old piece of wood that was upcycled from a very old and fallen apart bed. LINK

Her sister, poor thing, languished in the freezer for several weeks, because I needed to force some moisture into the rock hard wood.

Bedelia thought that I was being rather harsh with her poor sister!

I named her ‘Frozen Charlotte’, which is actually a kind of doll that doesn’t have moveable arms and legs, but in this case, it was because she spent so much time in sub-zero temperatures.

Freezing the moistened wood made a world of difference!

When I tried carving Charlotte’s arm, I was delighted- carving the wood was now possible without my knife going instantly dull.

So, I moved on to carving the rest of her:

Bedelia kept her sister company:

And, when Charlotte was finally done, they sat and enjoyed finally being together after poor Charlotte’s dreadful time in the freezer.

Bedelia told Charlotte about some more sweet mermaids that have joined the flutter of memaids in the studio and wanted to introduce her to them.

Charlotte is rather shy, perhaps because of the time in the freezer – it takes her time to warm up to new people.

But when she met the sweet Bunnymaids, she wasn’t shy at all, and she whispered to Bedelia that she likes them very much.

Baby Bunnymaid held Charlotte’s hand, and they all sang a small song and decided that they were happy to be in such fine company.

Unfortunately, Charlotte is still feeling very cold, so I think that I will have to do something about that!

SCRAP HAPPY- Once a month, a group of bloggers who are into upcycling all post on the 15th of the month, sharing what they have created with upcycled bits of this and that in the past month. Charlotte’s introduction is my contribution to Scrap Happy for this month.

Here are the other Scrap Happy bloggers- I always love seeing what they have been up to!

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, Carol, Preeti and Edith

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

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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

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

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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

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

Carved Wooden Spoon Wooden Dolls Hearts and Flowers 1

I have fallen in love with carving flowers on my wooden spoon wooden dolls.

Nowadays, I carve the wooden spoon part of my wooden dolly spoons in the shape of a heart, to symbolize gathering and sharing love and kindness.

This  Hearts and Flowers Sister is about 6 inches/15 cm tall and is a celebration of the river and the ocean and flowers and butterflies and dragonflies:.

To be honest, she’s also about dreaming of much much gentler weather than we are experiencing right now.

We have had a brutally long ferociously cold spell of winter, and I am so longing for Springtime, and for flowers to be in bloom

instead of blistering icy cold shattering winds!

I miss the ocean, and it’s so cold that I am not even going out to say hello to the river, even though we live close to it.

so I carved  flowers as a love song to the flowers and waves for my longing to walk along the ocean’s shore:

It has been such a long time since the dragonflies danced in our neighbourhood

and of course, the butterflies are cozy in their cocoons, dreaming of springtime…

Seriously…. Springtime, I am longing for you!

I carved ‘Springtime’s Sister and the next blog post is all about her. LINK

 

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