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Corn Husk Dolls

The cool and damp air that has finally showed up here in Texas signals the start of my favorite time of year, the HOLIDAYS. For me, November begins an onslaught of nostalgia- the warmest memories from my childhood. Baking sugar cookies with my mom, frosting them with my sisters. Putting on plays with our cousins after a big feast. Crafts at school. Decorating the tree the day after Thanksgiving with heirlooms from years past. The annual trip to Charter Club at Macy’s with my dad and sisters to buy mom’s gift (always something in a Breton stripe) which came with a stuffed penguin or polar bear wearing a scarf with purchase. Peeking through the tall glass windows at Neiman’s in Union Square at that giant Christmas tree and marveling at how they possibly fit it in there again. Hot Tom and Jerry’s. Bing Crosby. At our house, it was always special and my folks blended traditions from their childhoods and families to create what I can only recall as dreamy. Even in my scratchy wool plaid pinafore at Christmas Eve Mass it was cozy.

I am a mother now and when I return home to California, all 1,800 miles away, I still feel like a little girl, excited to see the decorations at the house and sit with my mom by the fire. I am so honored to share these sacred motions and rituals of life now with my own babies. Though they are still too young to help me with the crafts and cooking, I am certain that their hearts understand the magic of the holidays.

For Thanksgiving, I made these corn husk dolls. It’s a fun and relatively simple craft with very few (cheap!) materials. You will need:
corn husks (you can find them by the tamale making supplies)
a bowl of water
some thin twine
felt, fabric, yarn, etc for embellishments


1. Soak your corn husks in water for about 10 minutes to soften. towel dry.

2. Lay the husks in a stack.

3. With twine, tie husks together about 1 inch from the top at thickest end.

4. Fold the husks over the tied end, 2 on each side. Tie twine at the neck to make the head.

5. Take another single husk, trim it to a long rectangle, and roll lengthwise. Tie each end with twine to make arms.

6. Position the arms below the head in between the husks.

7. Tie twine below the arms to make a waist. To make a doll with a dress, simply trim the lower portion evenly.

8. To make a doll with pants, separate husks equally to make legs. Tie twine at knees and ankles.

9. Decorate! I used old scraps of denim, fabric and felt to make clothing. Glue yarn on for hair and use short sewing pins for eyes.


Husk Dolls

husk 2


I am going to attach a loop at the back of the heads so we can use them as ornaments on our Christmas tree too. xoxo

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