Kirsten’s Cornhusk Doll

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Happy first day of fall! It didn’t really feel like fall where I live with temperatures in the eighties, so I thought I would get in the mood with a fall-themed project for Kirsten! When Kirsten arrived in Minnesota, she had to leave her beloved doll Sari behind when they walked the final leg of their journey to the Larson farm. While she waited several months to be reunited with Sari she might have used a cornhusk doll like this as a placeholder. Harvest time would have been a lot of work for settlers of that time period (and still is for farmers today) but I always thought if I could go back in time and visit the pioneers of the 1800s I would choose to visit during the fall. I think the gratifying feeling of harvesting the work of an entire summer would be worth experiencing and there would be no shortage of good things to eat! There would be the camaraderie of harvest time gatherings as everyone pitched in to help with the crops. The temperatures would be mild with evenings cool enough to enjoy a cozy fire. The house and barn would be prepared for winter with extra chinking. A girl like Kirsten would have been busy picking and preserving fruits and vegetables, helping in the fields, and preparing meals for the men, but I am sure she might found the time to make herself a sweet little doll out of the husks she removed from corn that would feed her family.

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I remembered seeing a cornhusk doll project in an AG publication…somewhere. I figured I could probably make a cornhusk doll with little to no instruction, but since I wanted to share it on here I spent more time searching for the directions than I did making the doll. I combed Kirsten’s Craft Book, a 1999 AG calendar that featured some craft projects, the American Girls Club Handbook, and even my World of Little House book. I eventually found it in this August/September 1998 issue of The American Girls News, the newsletter for the American Girls Club. (I was member between the ages of 8 and 10…I proudly wore my hat to prove it!)

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Making it was a breeze, I followed the instructions minus the part about soaking them in water for an hour, mostly because I am impatient and partly because my cornhusks were gathered straight from the field, not a craft store, so I figured they were already pretty soft. I live in the midwest, so obtaining cornhusks this time of year is about as difficult as opening the back door.

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Though she doesn’t replace Sari, I think Kirsten would have enjoyed having her as a memory of her first harvest in America!

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