Rechenka the rag doll was born some time in the 1990s. I made her for my older daughter after we watched the episode of Reading Rainbow that featured the picture book Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco. It tells the story of an old Russian woman named Babushka, who creates beautiful pysanky eggs. Rechenka is the name Babushka gives to the goose that comes into her life miraculously.
I think the reading of the book and the making of the doll coincided. When I made the doll's dress out of colorful fabric I had, it reminded us of Patricia Polacco's colorful illustrations. I guess that's how the doll came to be called Rechenka. Although she was much loved for many years, the doll eventually started showing her age--her fabric was dingy and her braids had detached from her head (not a good look). Now that she's about 20 years old, I figured Rechenka deserved a makeover.
|Top left : Pre-makeover Rechenka. Top right : Post-makeover Rechenka. Not drastic, but a definite improvement.|
I started by giving her a bath in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. The fabric didn't come out like new, but it definitely looks fresher. After Rechenka air-dried, I performed a bit of surgery on her head. It always bothered me that loose strands of embroidery floss were visible through the fabric on the face. (I guess I was a messy stitcher back then.) I opened the side seam, snipped and removed the stray threads, and stitched Rechenka's head together again. Luckily I was able to conceal the seam when I tacked the braids back in place. To finish the makeover, I trimmed the frayed ends of the doll's hair and tied fresh ribbons around her braids and waist.
Now Rechenka is all ready for Easter! I'm sure my daughter, who's now 24, will be happy to see that I finally got around to repairing her doll.