Starting anew is always a good thing! Here is Vol. 1 of "Artful Living on the Bluff" for you to enjoy. While I am not contributing new material to this blog, please feel free to look around and then visit me at the new and (hopefully) improved "Artful Living on the Bluff" blog at

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lost Internet and a New Project

Well, we lost internet at our house almost a week ago. I travel to the local library to check emails and do other business once every day. Unfortunately, that means I don't have time to stop by the blogs I follow and comment. I see that there is SO MUCH new going on - I'll have alot to check up on when our internet is up and running again. I can't wait!

The upside is that I have had more time to spend beading and have started another project. This one uses some dichroic cabochons I made in a class last year. I am pairing them with beads in AB and Iris finishes to compliment the dichroic cabs. This is going to be a large project. Here are some photos of it, in progress:

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Wave is Finished!

I have been lamenting that I really have not produced any new bead projects lately. I have never been an incredibly prolific beader - I need to feel inspired and really care about the components and colors of a new work. I need to feel like I don't want to stop working on a piece and, if I do take a break, to feel like I can't get back to it fast enough. There are several projects in mid-swing - either I lost the momentum or never felt that inspired about them in the first place. "The Wave", thankfully, was one of those pieces I cared about from the beginning. The focal piece is a clay tile made by Etsy artist Jen of AGirlATorchAndAKiln. She has some of the sweetest clay tiles in her shop! Anyway, here's the progression of "The Wave". It will be available for sale in my Etsy and 1000 Markets shops.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finally, a new project - The Wave

OK, I have to say that there are many things I am just NOT good at. Correspondence, staying organized (I'm great at GETTING organized - but staying that way? nope...), exercising, drinking enough water and using what's in my studio stash before buying more!! I'm probably not alone in the last one (and most likely have good company in some of the others, too).

Anyway, I bought these great clay tiles from an artist on Etsy over a YEAR ago! I wrapped them carefully and put them in a special spot so they wouldn't get damaged before I could use them in a wonderful piece of jewelry - and then I promptly got sidetracked and forgot about them.... Until today!! My studio (actually, a 4 x 8 foot closet which I like to romantically call a studio) had gotten so unmanageable that I decided to partake of an activity I AM good at - getting organized! It will be short-lived but it's always fairly amazing what I unearth when I re-organize. Today, it was the beautiful tiles from AGirlATorchAndAKiln. These are called "The Wave".

Picking up on the colors in the glaze, I chose some beads and some sodalite cabs which were hanging around. I think I have a good start. I'm planning on making an embroidered necklace - I'll keep you posted as this one goes along.

Now where is that glue...??

News from the Garden...

Well, we are finally getting some produce from our jungle of a garden. Somehow things just grew like crazy this year. What has been strange is that there are some plants that have gotten HUGE before showing any signs of fruit or buds at all! Dan harvested some beautiful cabbage and made coleslaw for lunch. He makes it with rice vinegar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and slivered almonds. It's so YUMMY!

Here's the cabbage. Isn't it beautiful??

Here's the cook - he's pretty cute, too!
Nothing like vintage Pyrex to make cooking more fun!
Here go the toasted sesame seeds. They're the best part!
And the finished product ready to gobble up for lunch!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oleg and Sabine are off to Kiev!

We are good friends with two very creative souls - Oleg Timofeyev and Sabine Golz. He is a musician and expert on the Russian 7-string guitar and she is a writer and documentary film-maker. This clever pair are spending a year in Kiev, Ukraine on a Fullbright Scholarship. We will certainly miss them! We had dinner with them this past weekend so we could see them one more time before their trip. Anytime we have dinner with Oleg and Sabine, there is always good wine, great food and, this time, some celebratory cigarillos (**cough**cough**)!

Dan and Oleg
Cindy and Oleg
Sabine and CindySabine and DanEvidence of our fun evening!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Aunt Grace

For those of you who might be interested... Here are 2 of my favorite photos of my Great Aunt Grace whose life inspired my "Remembrance" piece(s).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remembrance and Steampunk

I am really intrigued by "steampunk" which is defined as "Retro-Futuristic and Neo-Victorian". I have tried my hand at a few steampunk pieces and rather liked them - even sold a few - which is ALWAYS nice!

A few months ago the Etsy Beadweavers had a challenge (well... they have one every month but this was in April of this year) which was entitled "Time Machine". I had just started dabbling in steampunk and thought it perfect for my new-found love. I even had a perfect title for it - "Remembrance". Well, as things often go when you are as ADHD and scatter-brained as I can be, time got away from me (hee, hee... no pun intended!) and I never quite got going on my creation. I had lots of ideas and, as usual, laid out all of the components I picked out.

Several different arrangements were tried - most I didn't like well enough to even photo for future reference. I finally made up a center focal piece which I really liked but it never actually made it into the finished project - I liked it too well all by itself. So it became a pendant and I hung it from a simple chain. Never knowing if I would finish the original "big" bead project, I called this piece "Remembrance". It's posted on Etsy in my jewelry shop called "caraway".

I had also picked out an old skeleton key from which this aforementioned center arrangement was meant to hang. I had done some nice beadweaving on it and, again, it happened! I liked it better by itself than as a part of something bigger. I suspended it from some vintage glass rosary beads and it became "Keeping the Key". You can read the story behind the title and see it in my "caraway" shop, as well. Here it is:

FINALLY, I came up with a design for the main piece (it's just 4 months too late!) and it is also called "Remembrance". It just came down to "less is more". Some clear glass pebbles backed with the words "time", "mystery", "journey", "imagine" and "remember" along with an antique watch face and workings, with the addition of some inspired beadweaving, finally became "Remembrance". The neck strap is St. Petersburg chain (my first real attempt). You can visit my gallery shop on Etsy - "CindyCaraway" - or my shop on 1000 Markets to read the story about my Great Aunt Grace and how her life inspired this piece.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Inspiration Party!

I know I'm in just under the wire here. I spent today trying to re-organize my studio and the inventory for my vintage shop - my house is a mess!! It's a happy mess as I am making some progress on getting my overflowing studio (aka. closet) in some semblance of order. Anyway, this brings me to my first way to kick-start my creativity - get organized! Sorting through a collection of things, bringing the older supplies to the top of the pile, can really get the creative juices going! So...
#1 - Clean out and re-organize! Find those forgotten treasures and get going!

#2 - Go for a walk. Get out into nature and the fresh air and breathe for a bit. You never know what you'll find. Yesterday, I took the dogs for a walk and found the most amazing mushrooms! They got me thinking outside the box as I was lost in their whimsical shapes. I always like to think that maybe there actually is some magical place where gnomes make their homes in a big mushroom :) Here are some shots of my mushrooms:

#3 - Step out of your typical medium and dabble in something else. I LOVE beadwork but sometimes I just have to remove myself from it and spend some time doing something else. I have a really great stash of vintage goodies and when I'm feeling in the need to kick-start my creativity I like to put together inspiration kits. They are simply items which share a common theme or color scheme. They're great to take out and look at when the creative well is running low. Here are some of my favorites:
#4 - PAINT CHIPS!! I love going to the home improvement store and ransacking the color chips in the paint department. I grab everything that strikes my fancy - I'm sure they just LOVE to see me coming!!
And finally, #5 is my puppies! When I'm feeling overwhelmed and a little blocked, just spending time with Ogie and Freckles helps immensely! Aren't they just the sweetest?