The Catt Box

 

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The wooden doll stand is included with this doll.

Here she comes.....the woman who wants to ensure the best of luck for everyone....but more than that, she wants to ward off evil spirits for herself.

Meet Sara the Superstitious Mammy. She's terribly afraid of making demons and evil spirits angry, so she practices many different Superstitions.

 

Sara is about 27 inches tall and her head, hands, arms, and legs have been painted black and 'aged'. Her nose and mouth were hand-stitched to her face seperately and then needle sculpted.

Her eyes are brown, half covered with heavy eyelids, and her hyper-seriousness prevents her from ever smiling.

She has an 'aged' cheesecloth scarf on her head and you can see some of her graying wool hair peeking out. You can also see her dangle earrings.
Thanks eBay seller carhaf for the necklace and earrings

Sara also wears a very ornate necklace of various charms.
Also, on her black collar, is a small wooden black Crow.

Sara wears an amber bead that has been hand-stitched to the top of her dress. And on the other side of the top of her dress are blue beads that are attached to a safety pin.
Amber beads protects against illness and cures colds. And blue beads will protect a person from witches.

 

She has another Crow that is hanging from some black string from her apron.
The reason she has a wooden Crow is because she always wants to have a piece of something wooden handy.
Knock three times on wood after mentioning good fortune so evil spirits won't ruin it.
Miss Sara always counts Crows and wearing two will assure her of good luck.
One's bad,
Two's luck,
Three's health,
Four's wealth,
Five's sickness,
Six is death.

Combining the need for wood, and her need for two Crows, is like getting two birds with one stone..... (excuse the pun)

Sara also wears a long black dress with the sleeves tied. The black dress also has beautiful black lace that has been hand-stitched to the hem of her dress.
And what is the Superstition with a black dress?
Black was used at funerals because it would not catch the attention of "Death" who was hovering around the corpse and always on the lookout for more victims.

So, in Sara's way of thinking, she figures that wearing black ALL of the time can't hurt!
She also has muslin pantaloons and a black and white floral apron with a 'spider web' and spider near the end of her apron.
She has a wonderfully interesting apron with all her 'wares', as you can see.
Anyway, Sara knows that spiders are 'a good thing', so she allows one to live on her clothing.

 

Seeing a spider running down a web in the afternoon means you'll take a trip.
So she lets a spider live on her apron.

There's also a safety pin on her dress....
A pin on your dress is the sign that someone desires to speak with you.
Sara loves company and wants to ensure that someone will be making a visit soon.

She lets a Lady Bug live on her apron, as well.
A Lady Bug will bring good luck.

And let's not forget the ultimate symbol of good luck....the rabbit's foot.
A rabbit's foot will bring luck and protect the owner from evil spirits.

And then there's the broom Sara carries on her apron. There are so many Superstitions surrounding a broom that Sara cannot trust anyone in the house with a broom, other than herself.
If someone should make a mistake and do the wrong thing, it could spell disaster. So, she is the 'keeper of the broom'. And little wonder....

Do not lean a broom against a bed. The evil spirits in the broom will cast a spell on the bed.
If you sweep trash out the door after dark, it will bring a stranger to visit.
If someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you'll never get married.
Carry a broom under your arm for luck.
Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.
To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.

And there are many, many more Superstitions about brooms.

 

Sara loves her black kitty, too. She keeps him with her at all times, and with good reason, he's black. His name is Grimalkin. And he's made of real rabbit's fur.
Possessing a black or white cat is good luck. Also, touching a black or white cat is good luck. She keeps him right in front of her. She knows lots of Superstitions about cats.
If a black or white cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
Sara has another reason for keeping her kitty within her sights at all times....
Keep cats away from babies because they "suck the breath" of the child.

Hanging from Sara's apron is a charm string. This is very dear to her heart.
A Charm String is made by collecting a button from each of your friends. String these buttons together and carry the string with you for good luck.
Each of these colorful old buttons reminds Sara of all the wonderful friends she has.

Sara also has a tiny wicker basket pin cushion that she wears on her twine belt. She knows the value of having a pin cushion handy.
Always keep a well-filled pin cushion and you will always have money in your pocket.
Bless her heart, Sara isn't a rich woman, but she wants all the help she can get!

And also hanging from her apron is a pair of scissors. Like everything else Sara carries with her, there are too many Superstitions surrounding a pair of scissors ....so, she doesn't trust anyone else with using them unless she is watching.
Dropping a pair of scissors will make you unlucky.
If you drop scissors, it means your lover is being unfaithful to you.
It is unlucky to break a pair of scissors.
To leave scissors open while sewing is an indication that you will be disappointed.
To sit on a pair of scissors is a bad omen.
Using a pair of scissors on Sunday will cause you bad luck.
When you let a pair of scissors fall, step on them to avert bad luck.

And that brings us to Sara's wooden suitcase of Signs, Portents, & Superstitions. She's got lots of goodies in there that are used for warding off evil spirits and for gaining good luck.

The wooden suitcase has been painted black and 'aged'. And inside, on the lid, are a few of her favorite sayings.
Inside of her suitcase she has a small deck of cards. Too many things can go wrong with a deck of playing cards, so she keeps them with her at all times, to keep others from making costly mistakes. There are many, many Superstitions surrounding a deck of cards....these are just a few....

It is an old saying that a deck of cards represents every chapter in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Never lay a deck of cards on the bed; it is unlucky.
To drop a card is a bad omen.

Sara also has a small Bible and a wooden cross.

Sara carries a few green candles in her suitcase, as well.
If a candle that has been lit as part of a ceremony blows out, it is a sign that evil spirits are nearby.
She makes her own candles and takes charge of anything to do with lighting a candle. She doesn't want to trust anyone else and then have bad luck come her way, in case they make a mistake.

Next we see a small cardboard box with a twine tie. It's a box of ashes. Sara is planning on having a successful garden this year, so she wants to be prepared.
Scatter ashes over the garden on Ash Wednesday and lice will not molest your vegetables.
Sara also carries a couple of apples with her because......
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Also, people approach Sara to help them see their future in marriage and children....
If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.
Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, as you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

Also, Sara has a little black Voodoo doll.
Most rituals are connected with revenge and harm, but there are also love, success, luck and health spells, as well as protection or dispelling evil rites.

And we just knew we'd see a little container of Salt in Sara's suitcase. She never goes anywhere without her Salt.....
Bad luck will follow the spilling of salt unless a pinch is thrown over the left shoulder into the face of the devil waiting there.
Put salt on the doorstep of a new house and no evil can enter.
Salty soup is a sign that the cook is in love.
If a person keeps coming to your house and you don't want them to come back any more, just pour some salt over the doorway and they will never come back again.
If someone is bothering you, take a handful of salt and call their name and throw it over your right shoulder, and they will not bother you.

There are many Superstitions concerning Salt, and you can be sure that Sara knows them all!
The container of salt is very old.

There's also two eggs. Sara plans to save the shells so she can burn them.
Burn egg shells so you don't have any trouble.

Two wooden spoons are also in Sara's suitcase...
And sometimes Sara might carry a few other utensils, like a fork or a knife. But today she has two wooden spoons.

A man will visit the house if a fork is dropped.
A big spoon falling on wash-day is the sign of a woman coming to visit.
A policeman will come if you let a knife fall.

There's also a gathering of red ribbon in Sara's basket....
A red ribbon should be placed on a child who has been sick to keep the illness from returning.

And of course, the mirror... There's only one mirror in Sara's house, and that's because there are too many things that can go wrong if things are not done properly. So, she only owns one pink hand-held mirror and it stays with her at all times.
To break a mirror means 7 years bad luck.
It is unlucky to see your face in a mirror by candlelight.
A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning.
If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon.

 

Also, in her possession, is a small softwood box of Blueberry loose-leaf tea and a mesh tea ball. There are many Superstitions surrounding tea.
In some parts of England, it is thought that tea leaves scattered in front of the house will ward off evil spirits and protect the family that lives there. Similarly, some people believe that if loose leaf tea is accidentally dropped in the house it will bring good luck.
Then there is tea-readings.....
A fireplace means that you will find great happiness with friends and family at home.
The figure of a dog carrying a parcel predicts the arrival of a package the next day.
A straight line of leaves mean that you are going on a journey and an archway implies that you will travel to a foreign land.
A butterfly means you will enjoy great success and a palm tree indicates luck and achievement of your aim.
A horse-shoe foretells a successful journey and a successful marriage, while a ring means that you will marry soon.
Snakes are bad luck, but swans bring good fortune.
Triangles mean you will inherit money and a cross implies trouble ahead.
If the leaves are deposited in the bottom foretell the distant future. The sides of the cup represent the not-too-distant future, and leaves that lie near the rim predict imminent events.

Sara also carries a hamper basket filled with her sewing work. As we look inside the basket, we see an old vintage quilt piece.....it's a piece from an actual antique quilt. Sara has been mending the torn areas. Sara knows her 'quilt Superstitions', as well..... especially Hawaiian quilts and patterns.....
After a quilt is completed, the quilter will sleep with the quilt for one night and then it is given to that special person whom it was made for.
When a person is ill it is said that if they sleep with a quilt all the love from that quilt will help heal them.
Never make human figures on a quilt. It is believed that the figures will walk and visit you at night.

Inside the basket is also a small twig basket of her sewing supplies, complete with thread, safety pins, clothes pins, and a tiny basket of more supplies.

If you were to take Sara into your home, imagine all the wonderful things that could come from it. She could control the things that might go wrong, ward off evil spirits, and also reverse 'bad luck' by doing particular rituals.
She isn't a Witch and doesn't practice what she believes is Witch-Craft...but she does follow all of the Superstitions that she knows.
She would be worth her weight in gold!

Whew......you can't believe how much work and research this doll took.....but she was fun and it was worth it!!
Who knew there were so many Superstitions?

Many thanks to Julie for the quilt piece. Thank you Rochelle, for the black tassel on the belt and also for the buttons. Also, big thanks so Connie.

 

Copyright May 8, 2003 and November 4, 2004 Cathy Palmer-Scruggs / Catt Alexander

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My dolls are not for everyone, they are my art. If you are offended, I suggest you hit the back button. It will not do you any good to write me 'hate mail'. 

In spite of the dolls I create and the stories I write, I do not use recreational drugs, I don't smoke cigarettes, and I don't even drink alcoholic beverages.