Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Greetings!

May the peace and happiness of this holiday season be with you throughout the coming New Year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Voting begins for Beaded Art Doll Comp

Received word this evening that all entries for the All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition are up on the Land of Odds website and ready for voting.

Galilea and five other fascinating dolls are patiently waiting for your vote.

Go to and check it out . . .

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Face Pin Swap

Sassy Art Goddess runs the most fascinating swap I have ever participated in. This was a fun challenge and I learned a bunch of new things making these pins. From molding the faces to experimenting with beaded bezel designs to learning how to make the faces into pins, it was a terrific experience!

Can't wait to see what I receive in this swap . . .

Roxie's Dresses

Heather (Bejeweled) over at Jeweled Elegance invited us to join a paper dress swap. We were asked to make two dresses -- one an Autumn or Halloween costume, and the other a design of our choice. My swap partner, Roxie Morrow, does not like black and orange, so here is her Halloween costume -- a Jane Austen gown fit for any Halloween Ball.

Since Roxie loves pink, I decided to make her a real old-fashioned party dress for the second requirement.

My camera was not in love with me the evening this photos were taken, so they are a bit dark. This paper dress swap was a fun challenge and if I would have a better supply of papers (I am a fabric, yarn, lace, and bead hoarder!) I might have done something a bit different. I am already looking forward to doing a project such as this again.
Hope you like your dresses, Roxie!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Competition Beaded Art Doll Story

. . . for those of you who requested the short story, I have posted it at my author's blog, .

2007 All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition

Yesterday I learned that my entry into this competition was selected as one of the six semi-finalists. No one can imagine the excitement this news generated among our family and friends! Although online voting won't take place until November 7th at , I am pleased to present my entry of Galilea here.

This year's theme was Celestial Reflections -- both a beaded art doll and a short story of 1,000-2,000 words was required for submittal. The first paragraph was mandated by contest rules.

. . . don't worry, I will unabashedly remind everyone to vote when the time comes!

The doll's costume is composed of sections of three Hubble photos:

. . . and if you can't stand waiting for the November 7th date to read Galilea's story, I can be coaxed to put it here . . .

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beaded Journal Project -- First Quarter

My pages for the Beaded Journal Project will feature some of my favorite literary themes combined with the birth stone for each month. I had a late start with these pages due to several tough deadlines in June and August -- both the June and August pages were completed in July and the July page was finished in August!

June BJP Page

Pearls & Lace and a Gibson Girl's Face

It was to have been her wedding day. It became a day of utter treachery and madness. Lily's life changes drastically when she finds herself entangled in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder -- and learns that her father and her fiance are part of a criminal conspiracy. Suddenly the unwilling guardian of encrypted documents and a stolen fortune, Lily engages in a dangerous game of unmasking the men behind the crimes. But solving the mystery is not enough -- Lily and her newfound true love must survive the consequences of learning the truth.

This Gibson Girl face resided next to my computer screen for seven years, urging me on through five rewrites and four edits of the novel Tierra Red. She simply had to be the theme of my June page since the novel was finished in June, 2007. The ivory lace piece is a remnant from my oldest daughter's wedding gown that I made in 1986. The pearls are a mixture of those used to embellish that wedding gown and from a necklace worn by a relative in the late 1900's. Since both the pearl and the alexandrite are gemstones for the month of June, I added the pink glass pieces and beads.

The irony of the clear glass seed beads that were used for the "webbing" is that their purchase had been a mistake when I bought them a year ago. They were relegated to the bottom of one of my bead boxes in disgust. Wow, did they ever come in handy when mixed with the rainbow clear and other beads for this 6x8" page!

Lily's face was printed on ecru patterned cotton with an inkjet printer and an overlay of ivory lace was placed over it.

July BJP Page

Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began; all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her; and still the Queen kept crying "Faster! Faster!" but Alice felt she could not go faster, though she had no breath left to say so.

The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and other things round them never changed their places at all; however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. 'I wonder if all the things move along with us?' thought poor puzzled Alice.

And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, "Faster! Don't try to talk!"

Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath; and still the Queen cried "Faster! Faster!" and dragged her along. "Are we nearly there?" Alice managed to pant out at last.

"Nearly there?" the Queen repeated. "Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster!" And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice's ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied.

"Now! Now!" cried the Queen, "Faster! Faster!" And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.

The Queen propped her up against a tree and said kindly, "You may rest a little now."

Alice looked around her in great surprise. "Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!"

"Of course it is," said the Queen, "what would you have it?"

And that is exactly how our month of July went here in sunny, southern New Mexico.

After three tries, my July page finally morphed into its present form. First try was to make a red and white chess board in perspective in the foreground out of peyote stitch -- hated it. Second try was another chess board in black and white in the foreground in backstitch -- didn't like this one any better! Reprinted the illustration on the fabric in red ink, turned the illustration 90 degrees and said the heck with the chess board, then added the challis print border.

Found the red and clear mirror tiles a week later and said, hmmm -- maybe this would work for a chess board pattern of sorts. Hence the stylistic approach to the chess board. Since the birth stone for July is a ruby, I used ruby colored glass stones on the Queen's crown and scepter. The secondary stone for July is the black onyx and black charlotte beads were used for the border trim.

I had always assumed that Alice Through the Looking Glass was written in Victorian times -- it was actually written in 1871. I tried to make the border trim reflect the jet jewelry that was worn from Civil War times through the turn of the century.

Alice and the Red Queen was printed on white cotton fabric with an inkjet printer.

August BJP Page

Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

If we shadows have offended,

Think but this, and all is mended,

That you have but slumber'd here

While these visions appear.

Anyone who has visited my blog in the past will recognize the painting by James C. Christensen from the Voyage of the Bassett. Christensen takes his voyagers to an island where Queen Titania, Oberon, and the fairies live. They encounter most magical things and learn important values. This is an exquisitely illustrated book and this particular painting is my favorite.

The painting was printed on canvas fabric on an inkjet printer. The peridot is the birth stone for August and the top border of the page was done in peyote stitch with peridot beads. The bottom border was also done in peyote stitch following the painting's design edge. I used 3mm and 4mm peridot and topaz crystals, 3mm clear Austrian flatback crystals, and 4mm Swarovski crystals in combination with the seed beads and glass pieces. The largest glass piece is from an antique earring.

Friday, July 6, 2007

"Glamour Girl" Story and Costuming Contest

In the fall of 2003, Marsha Olson of Perfect Patterns( hosted a contest based on her design of a Gene Marshall Doll Convention pattern set. We were invited to use at least three of the costume patterns and make up our own "A Day in the Life of Gene Marshall" story. The Gene doll is a 1940-1950 movie star.

I was honored to be the winner of this contest with the following story and costumes:

A Dream Come True

Gene Marshall hurried home to her cottage on the cliff above Malibu, clutching the script for her new movie. The early evening sky was filled with scudding clouds, promising a rainstorm some time soon. Which suited her fine, exactly what she needed this evening -- cool breezes and the sound of rain -- the perfect atmosphere for all the reading that must get done before tomorrow's meeting with the director.

Not that she was unaware of the story matter. The coveted script was a screenplay of her favorite book and the most recent bestseller, The Lily Saga. Gene resisted the urge to pinch herself to be certain that all of this was real, that she had truly been chosen to play the role of a character that meant so much to her. Humbly, she hoped her portrayal of Lily would be the finest possible. Tears filled the corners of her eyes as she reminisced about Lily's mysterious adventure. The fact that Lily's story took place at the turn of the century made the venture all that more exciting for Gene -- she absolutely adored the clothing from that time period.

"Oh, my --," she exclaimed. "I wonder who they will cast for the two leading men?"

She privately did not envy the difficulty the casting director would face in selecting the actors for all the exciting male roles in this tale. Nor, for that matter, any of the rest of the especially strong women's roles, either. If she had not been so taken with playing the lead role of Lily, she secretly would have enjoyed very much playing the juicy role of the rather villainous woman, Leticia. And although she was truly not suited for playing the role of the mystical Serena, Gene knew whoever landed that part would be a shoo-in for a shot at an Oscar, the character was that extraordinary.

Buoyed with excitement, she had little appetite for dinner. Instead she took a cup of coffee with her into the bedroom and prepared to spend the evening with the script. Gene threw the windows open to capture the sea breezes and sounds, then reached for the book on her bedside table. Lovingly, she brushed her hand across the cover and traced the letters of Lily's name.

"I promise you, Lily," Gene whispered, "that I will give the performance of a lifetime in telling your story.


It was nearly midnight when Gene laid the script down, tears streaming down her cheeks much the same as the first time she read the book of The Lily Saga. The tale always tugged at her heartstrings. She changed into her nightgown and robe, then sat before her vanity to brush her hair.

Moments later, she stared into the mirror at the reflection of herself in a Gibson Girl hairdo.

Gene laid the brush on the dressing table and continued to stare with astonishment at the mirror. She raised a hand to touch the free-swinging hair on her shoulders and the reflection in the mirror patted its 1898 updo in place as well. Gene shook her head and blinked her eyes -- and now saw herself instead of the Gibson Girl.

"Must get to sleep -- have a long, long day tomorrow," she murmured, then stumbled into bed. Exhausted, she pulled the covers up under her chin then realized the windows were still open. Too tired to get up and close them, she drifted off to sleep with the draperies gently dancing in the cool sea breeze and the sound of soft misty rain falling.

Gene's dreams were filled with Lily and her adventure, the tangled mystery Lily had become involved in upon her arrival in the West and the years spent trying to unravel it -- of the heroes and villains who affected Lily's life so greatly and her courage in facing all of her problems. She could hear Lily's voice telling the story, could see her in the golden pink satin gown discovering the love of her life, then nearly losing him forever. Tears stained Gene's pillow as she slept.

Morning came all too soon. Awaking, Gene felt as if she were still in her dreams -- Lily's presence lingered. She rushed through a light breakfast, then dressed for her early meeting. Turning to her mirror to inspect her appearance, Gene half-expected to see Lily's image there once again. She was not disappointed.

Although Gene was dressed in a modern dress and jacket, the reflection staring back at her was that of a smartly dressed woman from 1900. She reached out to that woman in the mirror and touched the cool, clear surface -- Lily's hand extended toward her from within the mirror. And then she smiled at Gene, nodding her head in approval.

Gene picked up the script and the book. Looking again at the mirror, all she saw was her own reflection. Lily was gone.


Later that day Gene returned home, her head filled with costume sketches and fabric swatches and the faces of many possible candidates for the other roles in the film. The fact that the movie might be partly filmed on location in New Mexico thrilled her for she had been fascinated by the detailed descriptions in the book about that place. And the idea that she might actually be able to visit some of the places Lily had been was enticing as well, especially the prospect of seeing the majestic Montezuma Castle. She was as determined as ever that this movie would be the best possible performance of her career.

Gene had been hard pressed to keep her unusual experiences of the night before and this morning to herself. And she had the oddest feeling throughout the entire day that someone or something was guiding her all the while. She beamed with pride at the director's exclamation over her dramatic reading of one of the most critical scenes in the script -- he had actually accepted a few small changes that she suggested.

"Well, I think I made those suggestions myself," Gene said aloud. She was still a little mystified over how she knew to make those changes. "No matter -- this role is a dream come true. I don't think I ever wanted to play a part so much as this one!"


Tonight she would be attending a most important event. And she must be ready on time. She had been so wrapped up in thinking about The Lily Saga film project that she had not chosen what to wear. Now, she was rummaging through her closet trying to decide on a gown. Nothing seemed to appeal to her -- her mind was still centered on all the costume designs for the film.

She narrowed her choices down to three gowns. One by one, she lifted them from the closet and laid them on the bed. Turning to the mirror, Gene lifted a gown and held it up to herself. The image of Lily peered back at her, cocked its head to one side, then frowned.

"Okay," Gene said to the mirror. "How about this one?"

Again, Lily's image considered the proffered gown, then rejected it.

"Hmmm," said Gene. "What about this one?"

Lily's image brightened, her approval was instantaneous.

"I'll be right back," said Gene. "Don't go away!"

Ten minutes later, Gene was dressed in the gown Lily had chosen.

She stepped up to the mirror and was not surprised to see that Lily was dressed in a gown of similar coloring, albeit a different era of dress. And then she understood why Lily had made this selection. Lily was wearing the most romantic gown from The Lily Saga, every detail of it could be clearly seen.

Gene must make certain that the costume designer used the right details. Of course, it would never rival the French dresmaker's art but Gene would make sure it was as accurate as possible.

"Thank you, Lily," Gene said to the mirror. "Does it make you happy that a film will be made of your story?"

The Gibson Girl image smiled at Gene, then faded from view. Gene reached out and touched the mirror, sad to see Lily gone.

A phone was ringing endlessly. Over and over, the sound repeated itself. Drowsily, Gene reached for the thing and her hand bumped into the bedside clock -- the face of the dial read six o'clock in the morning. The bedroom was chilly and damp, the sea scent strong on the air.

"Hello . . ."

"Miss Marshall? Sorry to call so early but I have the most wonderful news!"

"Mr. Amesley?"

'Yes, yes! I tried to call you last night but the rainstorm must have knocked the phone service out."

"Mmmm -- why are you calling?"

"You got the role!"

"Which role . . .?"

"Lily! The Lily Saga will be made into a movie and you got the lead role!"

Gene's eyes flew wide open. She sat up in bed and looked around herself. A book laid half open on the bedcovers. It was The Lily Saga.

"Miss Marshall? Did you hear what I said?"

She reached for the book and turned on the bedside lamp. The book was open to the very page on which Lily wore the gown . . .

"Miss Marshall! Wake up! You have a meeting with the director at 9am!"

"Ohmygosh -- dreams really do come true," whispered Gene.

"Dreams? Sure they do -- and this is one honey of a dream. Only the role of a lifetime -- this will be bigger than Gone With The Wind! See you at nine . . ."

All the Players --

Included in this parade of original and repainted Gene dolls is the Franklin Mint's Lily Gibson Girl Bride doll -- the inspiration for The Lily Saga, which evolved into the novel Tierra Red.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Moonbeams & FairyWings

Inspired by this exquisite painting in James C. Christensen's "Voyage of the Basset", I created "Moonbeams & FairyWings". She is a 16" vinyl Simply Gene Marshall doll by Mel Odom that was repainted and costumed.

Gene attends the opening night benefit gals of "Midsummer's Night Dream" at the Old Vic Theater in London -- an ethereal vision of moonlit magic as she leaves a trail of "fairy dust from her limousine to her private balcony seat.

Her gown is crafted of silver lame embroidered fairy wings overlaid with iris and crystal silver-lined Czech glass beads, aurora borealis and crystal rhinestones, and "fairy dust" on a background of sage green tulle, mint green silk organza, and teal silk. The underskirt is seafoam green silk lined with white silk. Gene's shoes are silver and seafoam green and aglimmer with crystal rhinestones and "fairy dust" -- even her hosiery shimmers!

The fairy wing stole has been crafted from sage green tulle accented with tiny, tiny 2mm crystal rhinestones and iris and crystal silver-lined Czech glass beads.

A 1930's antique earclip, which rivals Queen Titania's magical crown, has been reworked into a crown atop her tousled mass of golden curls. Crystal rhinestone drop earrings glimmer from her ears.

Gene's elfin teal eyes and pink lips, fingernails, and toenails have been painted with quality acrylics and sealed for permanence. "Moonbeams & FairyWings" sold at auction on Ebay in May, 2000.