Category Archives: woodwork

Miranda Mermaid joins the Story Door Dolls

Itty Bitty Hitty  was playing on the Story Door today.

She has discovered that the Lion’s Head door knocker is perfect for practicing acrobatics.

If she asks the Lion nicely, he is quite accommodating and will hold the ring ‘just so’.

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She heard a strange sound behind the story door, so she scampered back to the Wall Doll House, and asked Coco and Bessie if they would come investigate with her.

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Itty Bitty Hitty scrambled back up the door to the Lion’s head, to see if she could hear the odd sound again.

She was surprised when the Story Door creaked on it’s hinges and then, it opened, and a lovely lady appeared….

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Not just ~any~ lady!


Bessie and Coco were so excited that they raced back to the Wall Doll House to see if anyone else would like to meet the beautiful mermaid.


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Coco and Itty Bitty Hitty introduced themselves, and so did Miranda.


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Hitty Tennie and Bessie Gnome brought some comfie couches from the Wall Doll House, as they were sure that there would be stories told at the Story Door.

Sure enough, just as everyone settled in to hear Miranda’s story, a little ship floated through the Story Door.

Miranda told her new friends that she had been frolicking in the waves.

Suddenly a the tiny ship sailed past her and zoomed towards something that looked like the opening to a cave.

It wasn’t a cave…. it was the ‘other side’ of the Story Door!

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copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Everyone ‘oooohed’ and ‘ahhhed’ at Miranda’s adventure…..

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Tottie Tomato popped by to meet Miranda and see the magical little sailing ship.

Tottie, Coco and Bessie were so enchanted by Miranda’s stories that they didn’t notice that….

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Itty Bitty Hitty had climbed up into the rigging of the tiny ship….

Only Kitty saw, but no one paid attention to her ‘miaows’.

Hopefully, Itty Bitty Hitty will get down off the mast before the tiny sailing ship sails away through the Story Door…..


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

A truly tiny wooden doll

I couldn’t resist.

I just had to see how small a doll I could carve …

So….I cut very small doll parts from another birch tree twig.

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And, I carved a doll that is not much bigger than a quarter.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Here’s a comparison of dolly sizes – ‘Bitty’ is right above the ‘yr’ in copyright.

She really is ‘Itty Bitty’.

She was fun, but rather challenging to carve. (of course LOL).

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Bitty, Coco and Joy had a lovely tea party in front of the Story Door.

They had a lovely time, and were pleased that the missing teacups have re-appeared, but wondered where the cat and dogs were.

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I wove a chair seat for Bitty, which is  less than an inch square.

It makes her feel much more comfortable and she’s very please with it.

Coco, Bitty and Joy have heard the sounds of more carving in the studio, and are excited to see who is going to join them at the Story Door.




Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, weaving & handwoven, wooden dolls, woodwork

Carving and weaving for the Birch Tree Sisters

Lately, I have had a very magical time, carving small, and even smaller, (much smaller) dolls and weaving for them.

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It all began just over a week ago, when one of our son’s neighbors gave us some lovely Birch wood.

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I knew that there were dolls inside the Birch wood that were just longing to get out!

So, I took some of the Birch branches to the bandsaw:

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And, cut out the rough shapes for the 6 inch tall dolls, and then I started carving:

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I showed how I wove dresses for  ‘Hope’ and ‘Joy’ in my previous post: LINK.

They could hear that there was a little sister calling to them from inside one of the branches on their family tree:

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After a day or so of carving:

Tiny ‘Coco’ happily emerged from her branch.

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Then, I got out my 2 inch square vintage Weave It loom to weave her a dress.

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She’s about 3 1/2 inches tall.

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Coco Birchtree is very happy to have her picture taken at the Story Door and to join her sisters and the other

Story Door Dolls in my studio.

I’m looking forward to seeing what she and her sisters discover about life around the Story Door!


Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, weaving & handwoven, wooden dolls, woodwork

How to weave doll dresses on pin looms

It’s pure joy to carve little wooden dolls.

And, because I love weaving on small looms, it makes sense to weave dresses for them, too.

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Here are the latest of my ‘Story Door Dolls’ wearing their woven dresses.

And, a little closer view of the ones that I wove in a video tutorial on how to weave the dresses:

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Jim looked at all the dolls set up on the dining room table, and said that it looked like Christmas to him.

I loved that it looked festive!

I was celebrating, as it’s taken me quite awhile to figure out exactly how to weave the dresses…. I have a tendency to start out by doing things in incredibly complicated ways.

It then takes a lot of trial and error, and many iterations, to get to the place of simplicity.

But, I’ve finally gotten there, and I am pleased.

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Here’s the video tutorial on how to weave doll dresses for 6 inch dolls.

In the video, I forgot to mention that I carve my dolls fairly slender, so if your doll is somewhat thicker through the torso, weave the 2 bodice sections wider.

Happy weaving and happy carving!




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Filed under Dewberry Ridge looms, doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven, wooden dolls, woodwork

Quirky wonderful loom

My son, Angus Findlay, and I have just co-created a loom and stand that I absolutely love.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Last January, I asked Angus to build me a box that I could turn into a loom.

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I made the ratchets and pawls from purpleheart wood, cut the ends and sides into the shapes I wanted, made the warp and cloth beams and started painting it.

I loved it, but found it a bit too big to hold in my lap while weaving, and I didn’t have the perfect table to sit it on and weave comfortably.

So, I asked Angus to take some funky old legs that I had bought at a garage sale, and build a stand for the loom.

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Woo hoo!  I love it! I am enchanted by Angus’ design and how he built such a whimsical and quirky (and VERY solid and sturdy) loom stand.

He intuitively made it just the perfect height for me.

I brought it home and started playing with embellishments.

I cut out some of my favorite wooden shapes to glue on it, and then painted 3 coats of gesso to prime it.

Then, I slowly began the layering on of paint:

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Painting was a long slow process, as I applied layers of  acrylic paints in thin washes to build up the color shifts.

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The screen behind the loom shows how I use this layering technique on other pieces, too.

I was quite surprised when the loom started to lead me in this direction, as I had had a totally different concept

in mind before I started painting.

But, I believe in listening to the piece and allowing it to tell me how it wants to be.

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The ‘Dancing Girl’ and ‘Resting Rabbit’ motifs are a theme that I have used for more than 40 years.

They’re just me.

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I made the metal image of the Dreaming Lady of Malta with sheet metal, using the repousse technique of pressing and shaping the metal from the back.

Because I work with my dreams and use them as one of the main sources in my art and artisanship, I felt that placing an image of the Beautiful Dreamer was a great metaphor.

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and on the stand, I attached another repousse image that I had made at the same time as making the Dreaming Lady.

This is Xchtel, the Mayan Goddess of weaving, with her companion Rabbit.

So, the metaphor and message of these two images is:

Dream weaver.  Weaver of Dreams…..

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

It is just pure bliss to weave on this loom.

Words cannot convey the delight.

I LOVE how my beloved son, and dear friend, Angus, and I created a loom that is so completely US.

I feel blessed.



Filed under band loom, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

Carving a tiny wooden Gnome Doll

Sometimes, when you are carving a doll, you will start with one thought in mind.

But, there are times when it becomes clear that the doll wants to be something else entirely.

This just happened to me when I was carving a very small doll.

My grandson is five and he thinks babies are sublime, so he asked me to carve a baby doll.

I started…. I used a little doll that my mother owned long ago and far away in her childhood…

(Oh how I love this little doll!)

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but soon, it became clear that it was a tiny Lady Gnome who wanted to be released from the wood….

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And, there she is- among her friends, admiring the thimbles…

Her name is Bessie, or, just Bess, and this is how I carved her:


Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Story Door Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay, wooden dolls, woodwork

Fleur has a celebration

Fleur, a wooden doll that I carved many decades ago, had an uncomfortable situation arise during our move- her foot went awol and had it’s own adventures.

Luckily, it re-appeared and is now firmly re-attached to Fleur.

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Fleur was so happy to be re-united with her foot that she invited Tottie Tomato, Jane Austen, Albert Einstein and The Story Door Dolls all to come and sip a cup of tea with her.

There was one small problem….

Most of the teacups have mysteriously vanished from the Story Door Doll’s antique wicker suitcase.

Luckily, the guests were very gracious about being served tea in thimbles and assorted other vessels.

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Professor Einstein was very accommodating about sipping his tea from a brass goblet, although he had to wait rather a long time for it to cool, as it was somewhat uncomfortably hot.

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Jane Austen whispered to Tottie Tomato that she thought that the unusual nature of the teaparty was fun, but was rather glad that she didn’t bring along her silly sisters.  She also thought that Mr. Darcy would probably have not approved….

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Tennie did her best to help out by bringing along my favorite teacup earrings and a teacup crochet hook that I carved many years ago.

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The Cat, puppy and turtle were happy to share a dish of tea.

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Fleur gave everyone a few lessons on her tiny spool knitters, but then, she laid back to simply bask in the pleasure of the company of her friends.

The tea party was a success. Everyone agreed, even though the tea cups didn’t all make it to the party.

Perhaps they will be found in some unexpected place.

Moving. It is full of disruptions.

Thank heavens for dear friends!


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Fleur’s foot

Fleur did not make the move from our old house to the new one unscathed.

Fleur is a wooden lady of advanced years – I carved her more than 30 years ago, and she has some fragility about her nowadays.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Tottie Tomato and the Story Door Dolls heard that Fleur and her foot had had a parting of the ways during the move, and so they were rather concerned.

They came by to offer their wishes for a successful re-attachment….

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Some glue, a little wrapping and a sincere apology on my part for packing her so badly, all seem to be helping.

Clover Bee, the Story Door Doll that is on the left hand side of the first picture also came to say farewell to Fleur, as she was about to head off to her new home just after Fleur’s fancy footwork.

Tottie Tomato and the Story Door Dolls didn’t stay long, as Fleur needed to rest and allow the glue to work it’s magic.

(We hope…..)




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

How I carved 2 little wooden dolls from an Arbutus branch

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We had a branch from an Arbutus tree that was trimmed from our sisters’ tree many years ago, so it is really dried out and incredibly hard.

I used it to carve 2 little dolls, and then I wove dresses for them, using Lil Weaver looms from Dewberry Ridge Looms.

Here’s a short slide show of the making of the dolls:

So much fun!!!!


Filed under doll & dolls & dollmaking & doll making, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven, woodwork

Carving Wooden Dolls- My first homage to Hitty

Last August, I posted a brief introduction to my first homage to Hitty dolls. LINK

I have been carving and making wooden dolls since I was a very young girl, and it’s one of my passions, but hadn’t carved any homages to Hitty until I was utterly enchanted by the Quimper Hitty blog: LINK

The Quimper Hitty blog should come with a warning that it is utterly and completely addictive!

Such enchantment! Oh my!~!~

Thanks to the magical heart who creates the Quimper Hitties, I fell under their spell….

I really did mean to show how I carved my first Hitty, whose name is Tennie:

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But, I got totally swept away by a combination of downsizing, moving and downsizing (after 21 years in a large house and barn and huge garage etc, downsizing to a wee house is intense!) and by the writing of my new book.

Well, this year has galloped past, and the book and photos and diagrams are now in the capable hands of the best editor ever, and I am able to take up all manner of things that I love…. like carving wooden dolls….

Here are a couple of pics that I snapped while I was carving  ‘Tennie Hitty’:

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Here she is after I varnished her:

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Of course, as soon as she was finished, she began to campaign for more companions….

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She was sure that she heard a little wooden dolly voice calling out somewhere in the studio….

Actually…. so did I…..



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