Cattail Dolls-2

Take broader leaves and fold over the shoulders to form clothing and tie in place around the waist.

making cattail doll

Fold the broad base of a leaf over the head to form a hat and tie in place.

cattail doll-4

Here’s a view from the back

P1040100 (Medium)

Now the basic doll is complete.  Use your imagination to create different types of dolls.  Here are some of mine;

Cattail Dolls (Medium)

P1010645 (Medium)

Including a Christmas Angel


Cattail Dolls-1

The leaves of Cattail/Bull Rush/ Reed Mace (typha latifolia) are used to make these dolls.

Cattail doll with broom-2 (Small)Unfortunately Reed Mace does not grow up here in Northern Lapland, so I’ve not been able to make them since moving here.  In the UK I gathered the plants during August, separated the leaves and laid them out to dry for several days.

Take one or two leaves and roll it up into a ball to form the head.

cattail doll head

Take more leaves and fold over the head, ensuring it is completely covered.  Remove the outside edge of a leaf and use this is simple cord to tie under the head to hold these leaves in place.

cattail dollGather up 2 -3 leaves together and a third of the way along, twist them and continue to twist as if making cordage.

P1040088 (Medium)

Then do the same from the opposite end to form the arms.

P1040089 (Medium)

Separate in half the leaves wrapped over the head and insert the arms between them.

making cattail doll

Now cross leaves over and under the arms and around the body to help form the dolls shape and secure everything in place.

making a cattail doll

Fold some leaves over the shoulders and tie these leaves in place both around the breast and at the bottom.

P1040093 (Medium)

Companies I cannot recommend….

For some time I have wanted to purchase a pair of US Military “Mickey Mouse” boots.  These were first issued to GI’s in the Korean War and are designed to shield against water and extreme cold.  The boots are constructed of rubber and between two layers of rubber, air is trapped to act as insulation.  A valve on the outside of the boot means you can add or remove air to vary the degree of insulation provided.  In addition the boots are wool lined for increased insulation.

So I was really pleased to find a company in the UK advertising them, brand new for only £9.95 +p&p!  I ordered my a pair of size nines from Surplus and Adventure and 5 days later they arrived.  As soon as I unpacked them it was clear that these boots were not what they were advertised to be.  The label on the back stated “US style” and lacking two layers of rubber, a valve, and wool liner these were in fact just short, lace-up wellington boots with an incredibly heavy steel shank and I would require about 10 thick wool socks to to fill the boot with my foot.  The cost of returning the boots would have been almost as much as the purchase price so I have forwarded them for re-sale else where as a “safety boot!”.  My verdict…..DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

“Googling” this company brings a lot of results from unhappy customers and in fact my colleague at work ordered some items from them three weeks ago and has not yet received them.  When he contacted them, he was told the items are not in stock and will hopefully be in within a week…..we shall see!!

UPDATE 16/12/09 – The items my colleague ordered have arrived today.

At the beginning of the year I was contacted by a representative from Fusion Productions in the USA, who explained that they were working on a new television series called “Hot on the Trail”, to be aired on the Veria Network in June 2009.

They contacted me because they wanted to use images of some of my crafts made from Cattail/Reed Mace for the Cattail part of the series.  The series sounded really good and after some exchanges of emails I agreed to supply images for the series, in return for a DVD copy of the programme.

Since providing some images I have heard nothing from the company and having emailed the two representatives I had been dealing with to find out if my images were actually used, I have received no response.

I would very grateful if anyone who has seen the series could get in touch with me if any of the images below were featured in the programme.

Willow and Cattail leave baskets

Cattail basket

Cattail leaf duck

Cattail Dolls

Thanks in anticipation.


After writing this post the production company contacted me and informed me that they did not use my images in the series.  My recommendation to others……if people seriously want what you have they will pay for it!!

Winter kit part 2

With clothing listed in my  previous post now I will cover equipment.

From top left my log book, a silk liner ( I will not be taking a sleeping bag because I already have one there), wash kit, water bottle, mug and lid, thread for making nets and below that my bone netting gauge and needle (I have been asked to teach net making), my Gorilla Pod and camera, the kit I wear around my neck, sun glasses, Leatherman Wave, Opinal and firesteel, my knife, Gerber folding saw, then below my tinder pouch, a pouch containing spare batteries for my phone and camera, my sewing kit, lip balm and possibles pouch.


Again from top left fruit leather, hot chocolate, sharpening kit, parachute cord, below my flint steel firelighting kit, a reusable tea bag for natural teas, GPS, compass and maps.


Finally a cattail doll I have made as a gift, as is the whiskey, my Swedish dictionary and the most recent kuksa I have made.


Total kit weight 18.5kgs

Reed Mace/Bulrush/Cattail pollen bread

Reed Mace (Typha sp.) are now flowering

The flowers produce large amounts of yellow pollen which can easily be collected as used as flour for bread making.

Bend the flower head into a bag (being careful not to break the flower stem) and give it a good shake to remove some pollen.

From only a few flower heads you can gather a reasonable amount of pollen.

To make a bannock type bread I mix one third pollen to two thirds self-raising flower and a pinch of salt.

Add water and make into a dough

Once cooked, the result is a fantastic yellow bread.

Reed Mace/ Bulrush/Cattail

In America the Reed Mace/Bulrush is called “cattail”. The Latin name for this plant is Typha Latifolia. The word Typha means “a cats tail”.

Other uses for the leaves include what were traditionally children’s toys made by the native people of North America.

The Cattail duck

and Cattail dolls

I used Birch bark to make the buckets for the “Milk Maid” at the back of this picture.

Here is a seasonal Cattail doll; a Christmas angel