When I was about six years old life was full of magic. Mom and I lived in a small apartment overlooking the main intersection of town. Lots of my memories of that building have to do with the tall, old fashioned windows. I spent many hours looking out those panes of glass; feeling the breeze on warm days; regretting living so close to a cheese factory on hot days; and putting up Christmas decals during winter.
I recall the huge buffet we had in the kitchen and sliding across freshly waxed tiles. I also remember the odors of fall coming through the window next to the sink and waiting for my Apple Granny to dry. It was a lesson in patience and a delightful experience to watch as the face that my mom and I had created began to shrink – right into a little old woman’s grimace!
Now that the apples are overflowing from baskets it’s the perfect time to create an Apple Granny with my own six year old daughter. Perhaps when she’s grown she’ll have her own fond memories about waiting for her apple to wrinkle up.
1 medium organic apple
Sharp knife for adults to use, or a spoon
1 wire hanger
2 twist ties or rubber bands
Scraps of cloth, yarn, ribbon, and play jewelry
Create the Head
Peel the apple and sprinkle with lemon juice. Be sure that the apple is as smooth as possible. Any raised parts will be prone to brown.
Carve eyes, nose, and a mouth into your apple with a knife (grown-ups only!) or a spoon. I found I needed to carve deeper than expected since the features shrink and flatten as the apple dries.
Sprinkle about two tablespoons lemon juice with ¼ teaspoon salt all over entire apple.
Allow the apple to dry in a location with good air flow (like an open window). Check on the apple daily to see how the face progresses – this is the magic! After about three days your apple should be sufficiently wrinkled.
Create the Body
Straighten a wire hanger by pulling bottom piece in the center, opposite the hook. Clip off about half of the hook with wire cutters. Bend this small piece in half, and place it about where the waist would be. Use a twist tie, ribbon, or a rubber band to attach them together. This will help balance the doll once the apple is attached.
Starting at the bottom, measure up three inches and cut through both wires with cutters. This creates your legs. Set the small, bent wire aside for now.
Starting at the bottom again, take each leg wire and bend it perpendicular about two inches, creating feet.
Now take that last piece of wire and attach it with a twist tie to make shoulders.
Gently slide your Granny’s head onto the straightened hook end of the hanger – her neck.
It should start to look like a real doll!
Now it’s time to dress your doll. This is where it can get really fun and creative. We had some scrap yarn from a previous project that worked perfectly for hair. A sock made her “sweater” and various scraps of material and napkins made her shawls and gowns. I had an old hat pin which made a perfect closure for a veil and some costume jewelry for a touch of fancy. You may want to use some safety pins or ribbons to keep everything attached. Make things easy by skipping arms – doing without those limbs makes dressing a cinch since you don’t need to have sleeves. Your apple could last for about a month if kept in a location with plenty of circulation.
Most importantly, have fun! Let your Granny wear purple if she wants! Make several Grannies so they can play Bridge together or make a Gramps to flirt with the ladies. Whatever you choose, use your imagination!
Jennifer is a SAHM of a six year old and eight chickens, an organic and mostly sustainable gardener, artist, and first year homeschooler. You can peek into her world at Unearthing This Life, and find her as a regular contributor at Not Dabbling in Normal .