Elsie E. Braun, rural Pittsburg, left a rich legacy created by her hands and loving heart.



Braun, who died Sept. 10 at the age of 88, loved to create bride dolls, along with other crocheted and embroidered items.

Elsie E. Braun, rural Pittsburg, left a rich legacy created by her hands and loving heart.

Braun, who died Sept. 10 at the age of 88, loved to create bride dolls, along with other crocheted and embroidered items.

“She crocheted ever since I can remember and did embroidery and quilting,” said her daughter, Lorrene Wonder, Apache Junction, Ariz. “When we were kids, she made dolls as birthday presents. I’ve got a bride doll and a Hawaiian doll. We probably all got two different kinds of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus dolls.”

Her father, A.C. “Andy” Braun, was a woodworker who made wagons and stagecoaches. He died in 1987.

“Dad made all of us horses and stagecoaches, and the grandkids had mega tons of his things,” Wonder said. “The doors on his wagons and stagecoaches open. Both Mom and Dad were very good on details.”

A glass cabinet at her mother’s rural home was filled with dolls beautifully dressed as brides, and Wonder carefully lifted out one of them to display the beautiful crocheted high-heeled shoes the doll was wearing. The heels were stuffed with cotton balls and needles to make them stand up.

“One of these dolls is wearing a dress that has something like 10,000 beads on it,” she said.

Wonder said her mother used laundry starch to stiffen the dresses, but it’s getting harder and harder to find starch.

“I think these days she used a lot of sugar water,” she said.

Her mother also enjoyed crocheting angels and snowflakes.

“Everything on her Christmas tree was hand-made,” Wonder said. “And I don’t know how many crocheted tablecloths we’ve found in her house.”

The parents’ talent was inherited by their children. Wonder  also enjoys knitting and crocheting, and does beadwork, and said her brother, Dan Braun, Liberty, Mo., is good working with wood. Her late sister, Sharrene Meyer, also did some handwork.

In her later years, Braun was hampered a bit by vision problems and arthritis in her hands, but continued doing working on her dolls until shortly before her death.

Wonder hopes to place the bride dolls on loan to the Crawford County Historical Museum where people can see and enjoy them and appreciate her mother’s artistry.