Sunday, March 27, 2011

Work in Progress...

What to do...What to do?? Violet happens to be one of my favourite colors (right after pink!) So now let's see what this will turn into. I'll keep you posted:)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Winner of Royal Pains is....

Please email me your contact info:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Art-Book Review and Some Cigar Boxes..

It all really started after Christmas when my daughter’s teacher announced they were going to work on dollhouses around historical themes and fairy tales. We got so caught up by her projects that my husband and I extended this idea to help her make tiny houses for her hamster stuffies...
As some of you already know, I LOVE dolls and dollhouses ( if you recall the post and review I did on this here).  So, I just had to get this book:
What a wonderful book- filled with new ways of exploring mixed-media! The book teaches you how to get started from materials, to assembling, collaging, to making paper dolls, rooms and so many other fun things.  The best part is that the experience is not limited to doll houses; once you get the hang of cutting, gluing, and collecting..the possibilities are endless.  I’ve learned so many new techniques- oh yes, and my daughter loves it too (actually bought the book for her...wink, wink;)
Now, after years of collecting dolls, I can actually plan on making homes for them! This book is incredibly well done and the techniques extremely helpful.  Love it!
While on the subject of art and materials..The other day, as I was buying a foreign magazine at my neighbourhood tabagie,  I learned that the owner throws out his cigar boxes – gasp!  I told him I’d gladly take them to use them for art purposes. He gave them to me for free! He also said that from now on he’d save them for me.  Check these out:

They’re already so pretty just as they are- but I can absolutely picture them transformed...
I will definitely be making more doll houses for my sweetie (and for my doll collection!)

But- more than that, I can totally see myself painting and glittering these up and turning them into some sort of historical art journal- that’s really me.  Hmmm...can’t wait to see what I come up with:)
Do you have any other artsy ideas for these boxes that you’d like to share?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


There's something ethereal about into colours these days.

Another one from my art journal: Mostly watercolors(crayon-kind) and some glitter-of course!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ave Maria...

Here's one from a series I'm slowly working on. Actually, I didn't really plan it that way - I mean for there to be a series. I just find that some days I instinctively want to paint Our Lady. There's a sense of calm, strength and empathy that she embodies...I feel her presence. Here's one of our Lady, in a moment of my own supplication.

Mixed Media: colored pencil, gel, markers and glitter- doodling in my Art Journal.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Have you heard? The very talented author, Leslie Carroll released another fantastic book this week:

Another deliciously fact-filled, juicy detailed book about some of the brattiest figures in history.  (I can't wait to review this for you very soon.)  One of these is the infamous Pauline Bonaparte...she sure was one piece of work!

What could be better than a tantalizing post to set the pace for Royal Pains? I am delighted that Leslie Carroll has written a perfectly suited post- tailor-made for Enchanted by Josephine:) You will love this, I promise!


Two striking brunettes: each barely educated in the traditional sense, each captivating in her own way.  And each one in love with the same man—Napoleon Bonaparte—except that one was his wife, the former Josephine (Rose) de Beauharnais, and the other was his spirited younger sister, Pauline.


In the spring of 1796, Napoleon, having just wed Josephine, was appointed Commander of the Interior and was given command of the French army in Italy. Although he had an older brother, his position and potential for greatness made him the de facto head of the family.  His siblings were to share his ambition in that he expected them to marry up. “No money, no match,” was his philosophy.

At the age of fifteen the precocious Pauline, twelve years her brother’s junior, had developed a raging crush on a much older man, the rakish Stanislaus Fréron, but Fréron already had a mistress who had given him two children, with another on the way, and Napoleon refused to allow his sister to wed him. 

Not long after that, Pauline was caught canoodling with one of her brother’s officers, Adjutant General Victor Emmanuel Leclerc, in his mid-twenties, dashing, chiseled, and nicknamed “the blond Napoleon.” The real Napoleon, who was quite a prude when it came to other people’s sex lives, insisted that they marry.

They wed in 1797; and in April 1798 Pauline bore Leclerc a son.  Napoleon chose the boy’s name, Dermide, after the hero in one of his favorite poems. In 1801 Leclerc was posted to Saint-Domingue to quash a slave revolt.  He proved a valiant commander, but Pauline proved unfaithful.  News of her libidinous antics reached her brother in Europe and she received a long-distance scolding; her behavior was becoming an embarrassment to him.

Leclerc died of Yellow Fever and although Pauline ostentatiously mourned him, she wasted little time in returning to her social whirl on the Continent.  In 1803 she married the doltish Roman prince Camillo Borghese, becoming a genuine princess.  It was a defining moment for her, the chance to flaunt her title, lording it over her other sisters.  Having secretly wed Camillo before the date agreed upon with Napoleon, she angered him when she was announced as the Princess Borghese at one of his soirees.  But he could not remain angry with her for long. In fact he was forever forgiving her transgressions of etiquette and her general rudeness, even to Josephine, because the pair of them shared a special bond. 

Of her rivalry with Josephine, she always referred to Napoleon’s wife as “the old woman,” as Josephine was six years older than her husband.  And little Dermide’s death in the summer of 1804 (as a consequence of Camillo’s brother’s neglect) had made Pauline even more self-centered.  She initially refused to attend Napoleon’s coronation in December, 1804, primarily because she and her sisters were expected to act as train bearers for the detested Josephine as she was crowned empress.  It was only after Dermide was laid to rest and one of her sisters sent her a sample of the latest fashion in court dresses (which was too delectably resplendent for Pauline to resist for very long), that she decided to put in an appearance at the coronation after all.  She recast herself as Napoleon’s greatest supporter, averring, “He is my protector, he will defend me against the evil designs of my husband.” 

The emperor was forever scolding Pauline about her promiscuity, but she laughed it off—even at peril to her health.  She developed a disease of the fallopian tubes, which her doctors attributed to furor uterinis, or an overuse of her nether parts, and she often had to be carried about; but nothing curbed her oversize libido, which was very much like her older brother’s.

Josephine, too, considered her jealous sister-in-law a nymphomaniac—among other things.  She’d harbored her suspicions about the nature of Pauline’s relationship with her husband for some time, but one evening at Malmaison during the winter of 1805-06, after a dinner among family members and friends, she approached one of her usual confidants, the philosopher Constantin-François Chassebœuf, Comte Volney, in tears, exclaiming that she was “wretched indeed.  You don’t know what I have just seen,” she told the count, who was accustomed to offering the empress a shoulder to cry on whenever she discovered Napoleon’s latest marital infidelity.  “The Emperor is a scoundrel,” she continued.  “I have just caught him in Pauline’s arms.  Do you hear!  In his sister Pauline’s arms!”

As I mention in my chapter on Pauline in ROYAL PAINS: A Rogues Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds (NAL: March, 2011), allegations of incest between Napoleon and Pauline were not entirely improbable.  Josephine’s outburst to Comte Volney was not the first time she had expressed the view that her husband and his sister had an inappropriately intimate relationship.  The American diplomat Gouverneur Morris had also heard the rumors, and characterized “the present Princess Borghese” as “a Messalina.”  Messalina was the wife of the emperor Claudius who reputedly competed with a renowned prostitute to see who could bed more lovers in a single night.  When confronted with Josephine’s suspicion via a third party, Pauline at first denied any such impropriety, insisting that “. . . the Empress was no better than she should be herself.  At length she acknowledged it.” 

Of course Pauline loved the limelight, and negative attention was still attention, but considering the size of her sexual appetite, which was even outmatched by Napoleon’s libido, an incestuous relationship between the siblings is certainly plausible, given their personalities.  Pauline’s recent biographer, historian Flora Fraser, has arrived at the same conclusion, stating that “the truth is, it seems almost inevitable, given the strong sex drive for which Pauline and Napoleon were both renowned,” and for “their mutual affection” and “clannish affinity,” as well as their blasé attitude toward their sexual conquests.  Not only that, coming from Corsica where intermarriage among relatives was common, they had a different cultural outlook on incest. 

Whether or not it was true that they were lovers, Pauline loved to shock and titillate people, and flaunted her closeness to the emperor and the odd sort of power that she alone of all her siblings wielded over the most powerful man on earth. 

So—do you believe that Pauline Bonaparte and her brother had an incestuous relationship?  Do you think Josephine had due cause for suspicion?
Thank You Leslie:)

And now, there's more! Leslie is graciously offering a Signed Copy of Royal Pains to one of my lucky followers!  Thank you So Much:)

To Enter:

1)You must Be a Follower of this blog
2) Answer Leslie's Guest Post Question

Open to US and Canada only
Winner announced on March 13th
Good Luck!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What do you think about cameos?

During a conversation about influential jewelry throughout the times, (with another nit-picker-history-crazed-type friend), the subject of Cameos came up.  What is it about these miniature carvings embedded in beatiful settings that keep resurfacing? 

We know that cameos have been around forever (as early as 30 BC for sure) -As for the 18thc though...guess who apparently was responsible for making them fashionable again?  ...You got it...Josephine, of course!  Apparently she loved cameos and set forth a trend for ladies (and gents) to become quite proud of wearing mini replicas of themselves.

And knowing the empress' trademark for having exquisite (and exorbitant) taste,  there's no doubt that she certainly could have been the one to reset the stage for cameo jewelry.  Take a look at this to die-for cameo parure:

As for Napoleon, his own coronation crown is filled with them (named it Charlemagne's crown) as well.

Now, was this Josephine's creative recommendation?  (Does anyone know?)

As for a cameo of Josephine herself, the National Museum of Sweden, has this beautiful one of her by an unknown Italian artist:

Personally, I think cameos are pretty, and although I do own one (my granny's heirloom piece)...I never wear it...doesn't seem to go with anything...Any suggestions?

Do you like cameos?  Fashionable- or not?