Corn Shuck Dolls and wheat weaving were two activities that many families on the frontier engaged in for entertainment and to pass the time. Though the dolls might seem primitive today, they were easy to make and were often given to girls by their mothers. This is a tradition of the people who lived in the Appalachian Mountains and they were taught how to make these dolls by Native Americans. Native American legend is that a young Indian maiden made a beautiful doll that went off into the woods and became too vain. Found gazing into a pool at her reflection, the Great Spirit punished her by taking away her face. Due to this legend, most crafters do not paint a face on their corn shuck dolls.
Wheat weaving was a popular form of art among the earliest civilizations on Earth, and probably came to the United States from Sweden and other European countries. There, they were created for decoration or as a house blessing. Wheat is the straw of choice for most projects because of inherent problems with the other grains. Rye is long and thinly tapered, and very stiff to work with; oats are smooth and waxy, making it very difficult to hold a shape and barley is too short and brittle for most projects. The wheat has to be harvested a few weeks before it matures so the grains do not fall apart.