~ A Bit of History ~
I am a wife of 40 years, a mother of three adult children (girl, boy, girl, all born within three and a quarter years), and a grandmother of three (girl, boy, girl) ages 16, 15, and 12. I grew up in Michigan, moving south when my oldest daughter was 5. I've lived in numerous states with permanent addresses in Michigan (both upper and lower peninsulas) South Carolina, Wyoming, and my current home of Tennessee. I have lived in temporary locations while working seasonal jobs with my husband over the years (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin). I have traveled through other parts of the country, as well as out of country once to Guatemala while in college. I will say with certainty that I love my home near the Smoky Mountains and have been happiest in this location. The temperature is moderate for all four seasons, the mountains are close by, and the more irritating bugs are at a minimum compared to most other areas I have lived in.
My favorite hobbies are sewing and needlecrafts of all kinds, as well as painting walls and dressing windows. I dabble a bit in drawing and painting on canvas, and also enjoy music and poetry, composing some of both over the years. I consider myself highly blessed by God for having been given numerous ways to express myself, and have found these gifts to be a constant companion to me through some of life's more difficult times. The power of the imagination, and the ability to translate it into something tangible, is extremely comforting to me.
My favorite activities are riding with my husband on his Suzuki Burgman through the mountains, hiking, and growing perennials. We are trying to grow fruit trees (plums, pears, peaches, apples, figs, nuts, apricots), as well as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and kiwi. Some of these have either died off or are not doing as well as hoped for, but a recent planting of an almond tree has proved to be very successful; it seems to be growing by leaps and bounds (raw almonds are my favorite nut). I love herbs of all kinds and have two unusually large rosemary plants that have grown to about 4 feet in just a few summers next to the road by my mailbox (apparently, they love it there!). Our yard and older house are a continual work in progress, doing most projects ourselves, as we have always done through the years, learning to create/construct things on our own both to save money and for the satisfaction of a job well done.
Some of the jobs I have held in the past include secretarial work, seamstress work, retail, waiting tables, school cafeteria work, and an odd assortment of seasonal jobs such as corn de-tassleing, blueberry raking, planting trees, and picking apples. Needless to say, most of these jobs were all very difficult and heavy labor jobs, but thankfully I remained healthy through it all. I have lived through some of these experiences without electricity, running water, and flush toilets (even living in tents for awhile). Though it was a hard adjustment, being raised a city girl, I learned that the human spirit can adapt to many things when necessary.
My deepest gratitude and hope lies in knowing there is a God who loves me deeply. It is because of this knowledge that I have always tried to do my best in any situation I have found myself in, knowing that I ultimately want to please Him in return for all He has done for me. In spite of all my complaints and discouragements from time to time, He has always been near to carry me through. There is no creator more skilled and artistic than God Himself, and I continually stand amazed at the intricate detail of all things natural in this world, be it the human body, the world of creatures, plant life, the vast landscaping marvels, or the realm of outer space. Because of this, I love to include many little details in my work and projects at home. It is the little details in life that often make things come alive and speak to us in the most profound way. To God be the glory in all things good and beautiful!
~ Why Dolls? ~
When I finally realized I could not keep working outside labor jobs forever and still keep my sanity, I decided to become acquainted with the world of eBay. It took me several months to decide that creating doll clothes would fit in best with what I love to do, with a higher chance of selling than most other craft activities would generate. I always loved creating things for my Barbies when I was growing up, from using buttons for dishes, band-aid boxes for vanities, among a host of other oddities in order to make do. My grandmother and mother were both excellent seamstresses and gave me the fundamental beginning skills of sewing and knitting (though I don't think they always understood the hours and hours I would spend just playing with dolls or trying to make doll houses from cardboard boxes). I can remember my grandma starting me out with a scrap of fabric and needle and thread when only five years old. However, it wouldn't be until I was pregnant with my second child (my son) that I would take the craft seriously and make myself work through a garment to perfection. I have ripped out many stitches in my lifetime!
Many years later, and through much determination to do something well, I can now manage to create most of the ideas that float through my head. I have often wished I could have had specific design training, but such was not my experience. Einstein has been quoted as saying "Imagination is better than knowledge", which I have found to be a great source of inspiration when I doubt myself. Being an artist can have many ups and downs, especially when one is a perfectionist. (Just ask my family!)
I first started creating for American Girl dolls because that seemed to be the most popular doll category. As I gained new customers and friends, I was introduced to many other wonderful dolls, most of which you have already been able to spot from the website gallery. I have a few that have still not been added to my pages that I will be sewing for in the future, including my first BJD. I have been creating for dolls since April of 2006. My first eBay sale was a fairy doll bed that I designed and created from PVC pipes. It took me three weeks to finish, and three times to list before it finally sold. That humble beginning can be found at the bottom of this page: AG - Misc.. I have learned many things since then, including what techniques in selling work best for me.
~ He Who Compels Me ~
There are many reasons and forces that may drive people to make certain decisions and choices every day of their lives. For me, there has always been a deep awareness of something much greater than the world about me since the time I was a young child. Whether it was the faith my parents helped to instill in me from taking me to church while young, or the many quiet moments of thought that I would find myself engrossed in as a child that enabled me to hear the still and small voice of God, I cannot say for sure. I only know that life without the awareness of His presence would be intolerable and completely foreign to everything I've ever known. It is not fear of Him that compels me to follow, but rather the magnetic pull of His love. His perfection is the complete antidote for my imperfection.
The following Bible verses, quoted from the New International Version, are a few that have become mainstays for me:
Psalm 103:8-12 ~
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Isaiah 57:15 ~
For this is what the high and exalted One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with those who are contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Isaiah 40:28-31 ~
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.