Worry Dolls

In my determination to purge unnecessary and unwanted items during the process of moving, I’ve discovered boxes of items that have remained unpacked from previous moves. My brain sees these boxes and says, “Throw it away! Throw the whole box away without opening it! If you haven’t needed it in the past two years (or three, or five), you don’t need it at all!” And then my sentimental heart says, “But…wait…there might be…something. You better look, just in case.”

I always end up looking. Always. And I’ve found a lot of ridiculous junk, it’s true, but I’ve also uncovered a lot of sweet mementos and memories.

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My sisters and I made these dolls when we were little–I don’t remember what age we were at the time–all I remember about these is that my mom taught us how to make them, and she called them “worry dolls.” They’re made by artfully wrapping embroidery floss around toothpicks with the help of some glue. These also have pin backs glued onto them, although I don’t remember ever wearing them as pins.

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I did a bit of googling and discovered that worry dolls are a Guatemalan tradition. A child tells his or her worries to the doll, and the doll is supposed to do the worrying in their place. The doll is sometimes placed under a child’s pillow at night (as we do here in the U.S. with teeth). The parents would then remove the doll at some point while the child sleeps, taking the worry away with it.

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I think this may have been a craft that we did with our Girl Scout troop at one point; I’m not sure. In any case, I imagine the process of making the dolls would be just as cathartic and beneficial as any symbolic meaning ascribed to the doll itself.

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My favorite of the group is the one with overalls.

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Weren’t we just so clever? 🙂

These little ladies have to stay. I think they’ll get a place of honor in my little bedroom sewing corner.

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