This year, our homeschooling group's annual Winter Formal had a masquerade theme. Our daughter, Theresa (16), already had a beautiful golden mask saved from our long ago production of Romeo and Juliet. Margaret (14) crafted her own mask, an intricate maze of loops and points, formed from an unbroken strand of heavy gauge wire and decorated with a jeweled bird bursting free from a metal cage. Twenty four hours before the dance, Agnes (turning 18 at midnight that night), had no specific plans for her mask. She knew there were a few stray masks floating around the house, and, if all else failed, plain plastic masks would be given out at the door.
I decided to give her an early birthday present by creating a mask that would match her jeweled purple gown and reflect her personality--beautifully feminine, intellectual, book loving, with a heart that has never grown distant from all the things she loved in childhood. Here are the steps to making her Secret Garden mask.
Margaret laughed out loud when she saw the mask I purchased as a base for the project:
But I had a method to my madness. This mask, although garish, was comfortably lined with felt, and it had a good thick band that would hold up better than the thin plastic masks we found all over the craft store. Plus, the cat ears would provide a perfect base for the details that would be added to the top later.
I started with these materials, which were not inexpensive, but this was, after all, an eighteenth birthday present:
A layer of moss applied with hot glue completely covered the cat ears and silver and pink sequins:
I added a stitch or two so that the heavy decorations would not tear the moss away from the mask later:
Then for our theme, starting with a bird at a garden window:
Purple flowers and a butterfly to match Agnes's gown:
And, of course, a set of keys, suitable for turning the rustiest of locks and the most long forgotten garden:
There you have it, The Secret Garden Mask:
But the that is not the best part. The best part is going out to the hairdresser the morning of the dance and donating a foot of hair to Locks of Love so that your oldest and dearest friends do not recognize you at all. Agnes said it was like wearing a cloak of invisibility!