Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hobby sparkles in TV contest

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The time is ticking. She's got until midnight to get what she wants.
No, this story is not about a woman with a Cinderella complex, but it is a story about a woman who makes jewelry fit for a princess.
Dori Benner of Temple, owner of Dreamshadow Designs, is one of the top 50 finalists in a jewelry design contest sponsored by cable's Jewelry Television. Open until 11:59 p.m. tonight, online voting at www.jtvdesigncontest.com will determine the winner.
To vote, the user should go to the site and click on the necklace image above Ms. Benner's name. That necklace is the design that earned Ms. Benner her place in the contest. 'It's not the one I would have picked, but that's OK,' said Ms. Benner, grinning. Contest rules allowed each entrant to submit multiple designs. 'I would have gone with the star design or cross of everlasting life. But I'm not complaining, really. I'm so happy to have finally made it.'
She's tried twice before to win JTV's Viewer's Voice Award.
'But my designs never got picked,' she said, sorry for her lack of drawing talent. The contest called for drawn pictures, not jewelry samples.
The award winner will receive a $2,500 JTV shopping spree and a jewelry item in his or her design.
'But the really cool thing is that the winner's name and design will be aired on JTV and posted on the Web site,' Ms. Benner said.
Results of the contest won't be announced until later this month.
'I really want to win,' she said. 'But the important thing is that I'm in the top 50.'
This accomplishment finds Ms. Benner in her fifth year of jewelry making.
'I like taking a whole bunch of things and making it into something pretty,' she said. 'That's the joy.'
Even though she sells her jewelry, the craft is her hobby.
'I work full time as a home-health nurse,' Ms. Benner said. 'That's my calling, the other is my joy.'
A profitable recreation, she fits the sparkling jewels in her spare time.
'I love to bead. It relaxes me,' she said. 'Sometimes, I just start beading a necklace or a bracelet without having a particular pattern. Those are the pieces that sell the best.'
So are the pieces with mistakes.
'The ones that go sideways or crooked - I can't hold on to them,' Ms. Benner said. 'People love them.'
Passion for jewelry making appears to run in her family. Her 11-year-old grandson recently mailed Ms. Benner a pair of earrings that he made for her.
'I showed him how the tools work at the last visit,' Ms. Benner said. 'He's just gone to town with it. That pair of earrings is the only pair I won't sell. I'm going to have to get him his own tool set for Christmas.'

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