Mary Jane Bauman has created a double doll with the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood.

As she leads a visitor to her apartment at Heritage Woods Assisted Living of Belvidere, Marengo native Mary Jane Bauman puts up a hand in warning. “Now, my room isn’t set up like a regular apartment,” she states.

One might assume the space needed remodeling to accommodate the wheel chair Bauman uses due to the Parkinson’s disease she lives with. Open the door, though, and discover the accommodations are not for a wheelchair, but for sewing equipment! Bauman’s room is a neat and well-appointed workshop with a serger, embroidery machine and sewing machine.

Bauman hasn’t let Parkinson’s disease, advancing age, or moving from her home of many years, stop her from pursuing the things she loves. She has been sewing since she was 9 years old, making most of her own clothes and clothes for her seven children, as a regular part of homemaking. As the children grew up and brought home grandchildren, she began making christening dresses, communion dresses, baby clothes, and above all, toys. Twenty years ago she acquired her first embroidery machine, which greatly increased her creativity and productivity.

The doll she entered into the 2017 Boone County Fair was awarded a First Place ribbon. According to fair rules, dolls had to be made entirely of fabric. They were judged for workmanship on the front and back of the doll, cleanliness, the fashion point of view and the accuracy of cutting, sewing and finishing.

Lately, Bauman has been making a very different type of doll—a two-character doll. Most popular is her creation of Little Red Riding Hood at one end attached to the big Bad Wolf disguised as Grandmother. She delights in these creations and has fabric and patterns for many, many more. “I know retirement is said to be boring” she comments, “but I don’t have time to be bored! I’m having too much fun!”

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