Tag Archives: wooden dolls

Larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls

I have been carving a series of dolls that are intended to bring comfort, inspiration and delight.

I call them, Vasilisa Comfort Dolls. They began as very small dolls but the series has branched out in several directions:

Small Vasillisa Comfort Dolls LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series: LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are Lucet Cord makers: LINK

These Vasilisa Comfort dolls are larger than the original ones….

This photo gives a sense of the size difference:

ARCH SHAPE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS

HELPING HANDS:

In gratitude for all ways that people help one another. 3 1/2 inches/9 cm tall

THE BLESSING CUP: SOLD

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

“Being a Mother and Being a Daughter”

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

SWEET DREAMS:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

A BLESSING FOR THE CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

AND THIS GROUP OF LARGE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS HAVE JOINTED ARMS:

“Sunflower Song” We’ll never see Sunflowers in the same way again, will we? Praying for Peace in Ukraine and an end to the invasion

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

ROSIE:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

BUTTERFLY DREAMS

I did the tatting, using shuttles that I carved myself. She’s about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

DREAM CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall (GLASS BACKGROUND NOT INCLUDED)

SURPRISE and her BABY

Surprise was a fascinating doll to create…. she kept taking me in new directions…. including wanting a baby…..

With her hat, Surprise is almost 8 inches/20 cm tall

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING ONE OR MORE OF THESE DOLLS, PLEASE LEAVE ME A NOTE IN THE COMMENTS (IT WON’T BE PUBLISHED) AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU ASAP

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Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series

The Great Mother series of my one of a kind hand carved Vasilisa Comfort Dolls have their roots in my feelings of connection to the Feminine Divine.

I am influenced by images of the Goddess in all her ways of Being, as well as the Black Madonna, and by my dreams, drawings and tapestries, as well as my love of Sacred Geometry. I have a passion for flowers, especially the wild roses that bloom so freely here in Western Canada, so they are an important element in my work- for their connection to the Feminine Divine and for how they symbolize how I am rooted to the land I gratefully live on.

Each of these Great Mother Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is an expression of healing energy and of all the ways that LOVE unfolds in us and around us. My intention is to create one of a kind dolls that will lift the heart of the person who interacts with them.

I also see these dolls as a way of connecting our Present Self to our Future Self, and also to the Inner Child that still lives inside of each of us.

They are lovely to hold in the palm of your hand, but also to have in a special place like an altar or on a shelf with other treasured objects of contemplation, meditation and prayer.

I use all kinds of wood to carve them. I love using upcycled wood (including pieces of old pianos that have come to the end of their playing life, so our friend, a piano tuner, passes pieces of wood from the dead pianos to wood carvers and furniture makers to ensure that the wood is re-created into something lovely).

We are often given logs or pieces of trees from our neighborhood to burn in our wood burning stove.

But, we don’t want to just burn these precious trees that have lived long and lovely lives and then died.

So, my husband has built a sawmill from an old bandsaw, and he cuts slabs of wood from the pieces of log so we can make art with the wood, giving new life to the trees.

Here’s one of the Great Mother Dolls on one of the slabs (I carved her from another one of the slabs):

The chainsaw marks were really hard to sand out! Luckily, Jim’s sawmill now cuts us much smoother pieces of wood! This tree was a maple, so the wood is very hard.

The average height of the Great Mother dolls is about 4 inches, but it does vary with some of the dolls.

If you wish to purchase one of the Great Mother dolls, please post a note in the comments and I will get back to you asap.

GREAT MOTHER: DREAMING OF PEACE (MOTHER AND CHILD)

GREAT MOTHER: HOSPITALITY:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- “Grace”
Can you see how my tapestries influence the way I carve?

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Holding Close

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Water of Life

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Dream of Greening

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Rose Child

I have placed her on a fused glass piece that I recently designed and made, that is not for sale as it is going to become part of a larger piece.

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Paradox

It can be challenging to live with paradox….

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Forgive

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series has subsets –

One of the groupings that has emerged is the ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Here are the first 3…. Singing Together:

I love how they work together. I drew their shapes on the wood all at the same time, so it makes sense to me that they would form such a good trio.

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Bending, Not Broken

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Courage

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Dreams of Roses and Greening

GREAT MOTHER: Courage (Dreaming and Waking) 

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

and at  LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

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Carved Wooden Vasilisa Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay

(UPDATE: Many of the dolls in this post have sold. To see which of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls are available,

please go to LINK 1 and LINK 2)

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

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 ūüôā

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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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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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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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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Taking the Scenic Route with My Carving

When my husband and I talk about ‘taking the scenic route’, what we are really saying is:

“Well, that certainly didn’t go the way I expected it to, but we/I/it¬† ~’got there’~¬† in the end!”.

Several of my carvings did that this past week.

For instance, I was convinced that one particular little piece of  upcycled birch wood

(‘upcycled’ because it came from a tree that died and was cut down, but didn’t go to the landfill, and this piece didn’t go into the fire)

wanted to be a Panda bear Spoon Doll.

I drew a Panda bear with a heart.

I sat down and started carving.

A Panda bear…..

which, after several hours of carving, finally pointed out to me that,

really, all it wanted was for me to finally twig to the fact that it is a Kitten.

Sigh.¬† ¬†She made herself heard… eventually!

And, so, she became a Ginger Kitten with Mittens, Thank you very much.

Thank goodness there was just enough wood to make sure that she had a perfectly question mark shaped tail.

Now, every time I look at her and turn her over in my hand, where she fits so sweetly,

I feel very happy.

Another little carving – a Hug Sister Spoon Doll let me know that I had totally missed the boat on her face and hair.

I was puzzled and twitchy about what was going on with her.

The face that I had painted on her was just so NOT her!

I’m not going to post a pic of the ‘wrong’ face, because it was wrong.

I thought and thought about her, then had an ‘aha’ .

I¬† went to the studio did¬† something else entirely different than the ‘aha’ to give her the face she wanted.

Isn’t that often the way?

I did what felt right, though, and was thrilled that, indeed – it WAS right!

She finally looks like she is supposed to!

Yay!

I rushed off to show her to my husband

and did a little happy dance

and he joined me in the happy dance and

that made us both happy ūüôā

(We are possibly the world’s WORST dancers, but that doesn’t stop us from doing little dances together in the kitchen

almost every day, and laughing and thanking goodness that no one can see us).

So, anyhow, this little Hug Sister Spoon Doll brought a little happiness into the world,

and that’s a good thing, I do believe.

And, the other day, I noticed that the ‘Kindness’ Spoon Doll had a problem.

I had written the words: ‘The Small Book of Kindness’ on her little book with permanent fine Sharpie,

and, oh, no! The walnut oil that I used to finish her had eaten the words…. they had faded from the cover of the book.

Eep.

So, with great trepidation, I used my wood burner to burn the words onto the cover, and was enormously relieved

that the whole thing didn’t explode or catch fire- what with all the coats of walnut oil soaked into her!

Unfortunately, it’s much messier than the¬† original words were. Sigh.

I also had been troubled by the heart looking more like a dagger than a kind and loving heart, so I re-carved it.

Now it’s softly rounded and kindly shaped heart. Whew. That’s better.

The Scenic Route.

Sometimes, it takes a few ‘goes’ to get to the place that feels just right.

Some people  think that getting it wrong is a disaster.

Nope.¬† It’s essential to be willing to take chances and see if something works.

If it doesn’t, then trying again

and again

until it does.

It’s a challenging and interesting path to follow, but it’s a good one.

Here’s to the Scenic Route!¬† It makes life so rich and interesting!

My week has been full of other ‘Scenic Route’ carving, but more about them, later.

Be well! Be safe, and be kind….

 

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Carving Spoon Dolls as a Way to Make Sense of the World

I have been pondering and mulling and thinking and feeling and questioning and reeling from world events.

To soothe and heal the stress and anguish that watching the unfolding of the dramas out in the world,

I have been using the power of metaphor and the physical process of carving my wooden spoon dolls.

to start to make sense of things, I felt like I needed to re-connect to nature.

Immersing myself in carving wood that has come from trees that lived and then died in our neighborhood is a powerful way of connecting to the energy of the earth, the stars, the rain, the sun, the snow….

I began last week’s carving with a Tree Spirit Spoon Doll…

As I was carving her, I realized that from now on, all the bowls of my spoon dolls need to be heart shaped-

They are invocations of Love.

Carving images of love and connection made me think a lot about sisterhood and how precious dear friends are.

These two little Sister Spoons were directly influenced by all the thousands of Comfort Bears that I have made over the years.

I wondered if I could combine the softness of lucet cord handspun (alpaca and wool) yarn with the solidity of wood to create

‘Comfort Sisters’.

The answer is, ‘Yes’…..

Our neighbors on both sides have babies and toddlers and I love watching them blossom.

I want them to grow up in a world that is in much better shape than it is now.

I want them to live in a world where people are kind!

So, this Spoon Doll is dedicated to the Little Ones, who deserve to have the Book of Kindness being a guidebook for everyone.

 

I was thinking about accountability and responsibility and the image of a very firm, loving, but ‘Listen Here!” Granny

who laid out a couple of really important rules and guidelines emerged.

 

As I was carving her, I loved the feeling of the gouge lifting petals of wood up,

and the feeling of ‘Yes-ness’ about working with a precious material that is a living thing- the lifestuff of trees.

 

Trees are ancient and don’t need rules the way people seem to….

Here are Granny’s Rules:

 

I have had so many powerful and wonderful conversations with friends and family this week about the healing power of making art.

That has been such a restorative thing for my soul.

I ended this week’s carving with thoughts about how we are all made of stardust,

and that we are part of a much greater cosmos than we can ever imagine, but we need to try to remember to imagine that,

and so much more….

So, I carved another Starbaby (with lovely Chokecherry wood)

as a reminder of our roots in Source energy,

and also as a reminder to myself of a dream that I had more than 35 years ago-

In the dream, the Northern Lights filled the sky, and

thousands of laughing, chortling, squealing with delight, Starbabies

slid and tumbled down to earth, bringing incredible joy and goodness with them.

May they continue to do so!

Here’s to Goodness! ‚̧

 

 

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Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam Wooden Dolls

I have loved wooden dolls all my life and have made many, many of them throughout my life.

More than 20 years ago, I began a series of flat wooden dolls that I called: ‘Merrie Sunshine’.

I’ve worked with Merrie Sunshine off and on for all these years, but until the pandemic unfolded, it didn’t occur to me to make a mermaid sister for Merrie Sunshine.

I’ve been working on larger articulated wooden mermaids and it was these dolls that brought Merrie Sunshine to mind,

and then inspired me to give Merrie Sunshine a mermaid sister.

Here are Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam with my most recent wooden mermaid (the inspiration for all this)

I asked Donna and Gary McFarland of Dewberry Ridge Looms if they would be interested in making

unpainted, unfinished Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam dolls that people would then be able

to make uniquely their own.

They said that they would, and so here are what the dolls look like fresh out of the envelope from Donna and Gary:

MERRIE SUNSHINE: LINK TO ORDER from Dewberry Ridge Looms

and

MINNIE MOONBEAM MERMAID: LINK TO ORDER from Dewberry Ridge Looms 

I have made 4 videos that show how to paint or color or decoupage the dolls to make them uniquely your own and how to stitch the dolls together

LINKS TO “HOW TO ASSEMBLE AND EMBELLISH MERRIE SUNSHINE AND MINNIE MOONBEAM DOLLS’

PART 1- How to’s for the Face, Hair and all kinds of things:

 

PART 2- More Embellishing 

 

PART 3- How to use Washi tape and origami paper to dress the dolls:

 

PART 4- How to stitch the dolls together:

Here’s a little inspiration for the Merrie Sunshine Dolls”

and a glimpse of how I have embellished some Minnie Moonbeam Mermaid dolls:

And, dolls need clothes, right?

So, I have designed an eBook of CROCHETED DOLL clothes for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam

Available in my etsy shop- LINK

AND  a book of KNITTED DOLL CLOTHES for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam

Available  in my etsy shop at LINK

AND a book of Doll Clothes WOVEN ON THE 2 INCH PIN LOOM

Available  in my etsy shop  LINK

 

Here is the link to the¬† facebook group for the Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam dolls¬† LINK¬† ūüôā

How to make Tutus for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam:

 

How to make shawls and other wraps for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam:

Watch this page for more links to fun things for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam.¬† ūüėÄ

I hope that Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam will bring you as much joy as they have brought me! ‚̧

 

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Wooden and Woven Dolls for Christmas

Recently, I had a lovely conversation with my darlin’ grandson.

He said to me: ‘Nanma, I LOVE your dolls. ¬†Will you make me one for Christmas?’

I was thrilled that he is pleased with my work and that he wanted me to make him a doll for Christmas.

What an awesome 7 year old he is!

I asked him if he wanted a wooden one or a woven one, and I was convinced that he said, ‘Wooden’….

So, I stayed up very, very late one night, and got up early, to carve him a wooden doll:

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016

I used a birch branch from our son’s neighbour’s tree. ¬†It’s been drying for a year and a half and is lovely to carve.

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-3

Tottie Tomato cheered me on as I carved.

She comforted the new doll, because she knows that the knives, chisels and sandpaper are very uncomfortable, and that paint brushes tickle….

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-2

After he was done, and I had knitted his sweater and jeans, Tottie Tomato and New Boy went to hang a few ornaments on the tree in the village.

Something was feeling not quite right….

I thought: I have to check and see if Grandson actually said that he wanted a wooden doll…..

So, I asked him which dolls he loved?

Wooden or the woven art dolls?

We were out at a concert of his Grampa’s music, so I sketched the shape of the 6th Sense art dolls in the air.

YES! he said, firmly!

THOSE are the ones I love!

Oh oh….

I asked him to draw in the air and show me what shape he had in mind.

Yup….. Woven Women 6th Sense art dolls, and NOT 6 inch tall wooden dolls….

oops.

He specified that he wanted it soft to cuddle and that it had to wear black shoes.

I asked him to draw exactly what he wanted…..

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-4

He held his hands up in the air and showed me the size.

So…………………………

I have been weaving up a storm……………. ¬†well, a doll, along with a few other things……

I used the tapestry weaving technique to weave the body front, and plain weave for the back.

I did a clasped warp technique for the arms and legs to make the color changes work for the arms and legs.

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-5

I hope that he approves of how I interpreted his design!

I hadn’t thought of making him a doll for Christmas, so I am incredibly grateful that he asked.

And, because I didn’t get the brief right first time around, our little sweetheart gets TWO dolls, not one!

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-6

For now, they are chilling out by the Village Christmas tree, enjoying themselves in knitted armchairs that I designed for Findlay and Flora Bear.

The pattern for the chairs is in my etsy shop:

LINK

wooden-james-doll-xmas-2016-7

I can’t bear to wrap them until the last moment, so I will have a chance to enjoy them, too!

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy Solstice, Happy Yule, Happy EVERYTHING to you and yours!

Love and blessings all round.

May 2017 bring Peace, Wisdom and Compassion!

 

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