Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Appalachian Bag Ladies - Dolls

Trying to be useful with this illness is trying beyond words. Trying to remain active. Keep my mind active and fight this illness is a full time job.  I have not the stamina nor the strength of what I used to but that doesn't mean I don't try to at least function on some level. Takes me forever to do what I once did quickly. Some days the old hands won't work. Some days it takes FOREVER to remember how to do things. The brain fog is truly a fog.

Bless my family. They do so much for me. My son and daughter take care of me in so many ways. Without my son I'd have no internet and he is my chauffer, the person that keeps me from burning the house down, forgetting things, on bad days so many things, making sure I'm ok.  They really come through especially when house taxes, insurance and the anniversary month for the electric are all coming due.

But it hurts me to see them struggling to take care of me. I rack my brain on how to help myself. I still have knowledge on how to do things. If I take my time, and have time to take, I can do things.  Wishing I would be strong enough to do a full time job again doesn't make it so. In my shape I would not hire me. But still I have hope that one day I will be well enough to function on a greater level because Lord knows, as anyone who became disabled and tries to live on disability does, I miss my job and my JOB MONEY!!

So what to do? Is there a way I can help them help me? I used to be quite a craft person. LOVE crafts. My son in law brought some corn grown from his parent's garden the other week for Sunday dinner. It was very good sweet corn.  I kept the corn shucks. I left them in a pan on the porch to dry.

I used to be known as the Corn shuck lady at Crab Orchard museum. I would take corn husks and demonstrate how to make different crafts with them. You can make dolls, hats, mats, bags, brooms all kinds of things out of just corn husks.

My goal was to make a doll or two and give them to my son to sell. They don't sell for much but it was a way to keep me occupied and anything is better than nothing.  Well that idea went the way of the wind, literally. I had a bad week and forgot the husks were on the porch. First the outside kitties made a bed out of them and then a good windy day blew them away through the yard.  Sigh!!!


I was telling my beloved partner Ed about it. (For those of you curious about that, we are an older couple with two separate houses. Works for us!!) He has watched me make these dolls. He said, "Doesn't it look like plastic grocery or garbage bags have the same consistency of wet corn husks? He asked me, "Do you think you could make a doll out of plastic bags?"

Wow, I thought that's recycling on a different scale. I took that suggestion, dug through the grocery bags and tried it. Took me about a week. I really notice the old brain drawbacks and muscle differences when I work on crafts. I used to make 6 or 7 dolls in a demonstration in an afternoon! It is so strange believe me. I get tired easily. BUT I DID IT!!! Really the pictures don't do them justice. Since it is before Halloween, I made a flying witch and the other just a doll with a broom. These two dolls are made like corn husk dolls but out of plastic grocery/garbage bags, string, little bit of tape, wood and some linen waxed thread. 

Both are made to hang up somewhere. The witch does fly, though I wouldn't leave her in a really stiff wind outside. Rather I would hang the witch over a table display like on a ceiling light fixture or by the door so that when you open or close the door she moves. Being light she flies pretty well. The little yellow dress doll will stand up. Some folks like to hang corn husk dolls on trees and I was trying to add something for her to do that. You can't tie it around her waist she is a bit top heavy. So there is a thin thread around her neck, that does not show too badly. This can be cut to just have her set on a table. I was going to put a rope but then it looked like a noose!! That's too morbid for me. We took a little video of them hanging on a tree in the back yard.  See video below.

I then gave them to my son to sell in his store on eBay. I think it's sort of crazy but then they sell some crazy stuff on eBay. I watched on a show where they sold a green pepper that looked like it had a face..... for $155? I don't understand buying some thing that would rot like that much less paying that much for it!! But each to his own. At least these dolls are made out of plastic bags and they say plastic bags have a life in the ground of 100 years.

Also Ed was sitting on the porch the other day and made a primitive wooden fish hook necklace. He carved and heated the wood into shape and made a corded necklace rope. He gave that to my son to sell for the cause. He's so sweet.

Appalachian crafters have a history of taking whatever is available and making something out of it. It's in our blood!
They sold very quickly. Need, I reckon to one day make a few more.