Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tutorial: Cornhusk Dolls for Pioneer Girls

I can't tell you how many times I have read the Little House books. I can tell you that I read them several times as a child, always from my Mama's boxed set. When I was pregnant with Willow and hyper-emetic, and had no relief from constant nausea for a solid month (until my midwife had a miracle cure mixed up for me at a compounding pharmacy, but that's another story), Matt lay next to me, tried not to jostle me, and read me the entire series over again. Little House in the Big Woods was the first novel that I read to the girls chapter by chapter, one chapter every night at bedtime. And when Willow could first read, REALLY read, she watched me ceremoniously move Mama's boxed set of Little House books down from my adult bookshelf to her child bookshelf, and soon after she was asking me exactly how Almanzo had grown his pumpkin so big, and if we could try that, too.

Just recently we've again been exploring the Little House. The Little House in the Big Woods audiobook was such a hit (even though I highly disliked the narrator's voice--sorry!) that we're now working our way through all the audiobooks. We've got some good Laura Ingalls Wilder timeline tidbits for our big basement timeline. And we've got a Little House cookbook and a Little House craft book, and we're not afraid to use them!

(Well, I am a little afraid of the cookbook, and don't tell Matt, but as the official homeschool errand man, it will soon be his responsibility to track down a particular cut of meat known as "salt pork", and then he's going to have to cook it with the girls, on account of I don't cook meat, and I definitely don't cook meat called "salt pork." Shudder.)

Of course, it wouldn't be a homeschool of mine if there weren't a lot of craft projects involved. There's the model of the covered wagon that we're putting together, there's the nine-patch quilt, there's the godawful salt pork, and there are the girls' newest plaything, the cornhusk dolls.

Cornhusk dolls aren't really seasonally appropriate for February, but I pulled the dried cornhusks out from my magic craft closet, and you can either get your own cornhusks from non-local, out-of-season corn at the grocery store, or you can wait until harvest time. Or just live vicariously through me and my project, cause here goes:

If you're using dried cornhusks, soak them for maybe half an hour first:
 If you're using fresh cornhusks, you can skip this step.

Pick out three or four of the longest, best-looking cornhusks and stack them on top of each other. Fold the stack width-wise until you have a width that is a good one for your doll, and then fold the stack in half. The ends of the stack are your doll's skirt, and the folded part is your doll's head. Tie a piece of twine tightly around the cornhusks at your doll's neck:
 If you're a rock star and your cornhusks are fresh, you can use a cornhusk to tie the knot, but I just used twine. I'm not a rock star, although I am a craft star.

Pick out two short but good-looking cornhusks and roll them tightly. Poke the roll through the folds in the cornhusks just below your doll's neck, and tie another knot under this roll for your doll's waist. Trim the roll at both ends to a good arm-length:
 Syd needs to trim her arms a little more:
At this point you're basically done. You can now play with your doll, or make her some clothes, or, apparently, just draw some clothes on, because apparently it makes you pretty darn happy to do so:
Sure beats a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Dolls are always good!
Good thing you had 'em in your closet. :)

And I love that well-loved table.