1. For each head, choose a firm, unblemished apple, Red Delicious is a good choice, but other varieties will do.
2. Pare the apple and cut out the blossom and stem ends.
3. Carve the face roughly with a paring knife, indicating the ears, eye sockets, nose and mouth.
A slit in the mouth will dry into lips.
4. Bits of apple are cut away as needed but only the simplest kind of carving is necessary.
5. After treating the heads so they will not darken unduly with age after drying (coat with mixture of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt) , push white, glass-headed pins into the apple for eyeballs.
6. Put the pins in at a slant so that, as the apple shrinks during drying, the point will not stick out the back of the head. Or the shank can be clipped to about 3/4" long. As the apple dries, it shrinks back from the pinhead so you have to keep pushing them in. Eventually the apple shrinks around the pinhead so when they are dry it's just like an "eye in a socket." Drying time depends somewhat on the temperature and humidity. It takes a minimum of two weeks, sometimes longer.
7. Dry them on top of the refrigerator, the warm air circulating up from the back makes it an ideal place for drying. If they are not dried in a warm, airy place, they might mold before they dry. The heads shrink to about half the size of the original apples.
1. Bodies are made of flexible wire padded with old nylons. They are dressed and bent into realistic poses.
2. Use scraps left over from sewing for the clothes. They must be small prints to be in proportion for these tiny people.
Apple dolls are "one of a kind" because the heads never dry exactly the same shape or expression twice. To some extent, one can shape the heads a little by pinching and squeezing as they dry, to make the nose more prominent or make the ears stand away from the head, but in general, they shape themselves naturally as the apples wrinkle in drying.
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