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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ink and Sunshine

Amanda Fuller has a great blog. She is a graphic designer from Australia and contacted me to let me know she had featured a vintage scarf from CarawayCache in her post entitled "Ink and Sunshine". She is predicting that combining navy blue and yellow will be a big trend in the coming year. I hope so - the combination is striking!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Desk

Working from home is hard. Don't get me wrong, it's so nice to walk into the next room to "go to work" and spend most (if not all) your day in your PJs. But it's hard to stay on-task, to treat it like a "real" job. Sometimes working for yourself has the drawback of not having strictly outlined goals for your days - especially if you are an artist. Spend more time creating?? Sure. But what if I'm not inspired? What if nothing's selling? It's hard to think about making more product if no one seems to want the product you already have available.

Working for yourself is also overwhelming. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, updating the website, posting items in my online stores, marketing, marketing, marketing... AGH!! I'm just so bad at so much of the marketing stuff. Some of those problems are handled with "to-do" lists. I am a great advocate for "to-do" lists. They save me from wasting hours wandering aimlessly through my days without a clue as to what I need to be doing next. I have such mundane tasks like "Eat Breakfast" and "Take Vitamin" or "Take Shower" (yes, unfortunately, I have to remind myself to bathe and eat every once in a while - although personal hygiene is also something you can put on the back burner if you spend most of your days alone in your house and your body will eventually remind you that you are hungry and should really have lunch sometime soon). Anyway... where was I... ? Ah! "To-do" lists. The main problem with those lists is that it's easy to simply move something you don't feel like tackling at the moment to tomorrow's list and then to tomorow's list and ... well, you get the idea. So I end up with items that have an eternal spot on the list and never get done. What I am starting to finally learn is that those undone items cause me an awful lot of stress. Why don't I just do them and get them over with?? They aren't life threatening or anything - just stuff. This is where I think having a more enjoyable workspace will help.

I have been on a quest lately to streamline my days and my workspace. You can see some of my improvements I made to my studio (aka closet) space here. Now I'm on to my actual desk/computer space (aka changing table gotten second-hand from friends - but, hey, whatever works!). I have tried several furniture arrangements, organizational methods and the like. I finally spent the last two days rethinking and setting up my desk space. Maybe my marketing strategies would work better if I had a desk space I actually ENJOYED sitting at. So here is my new space - it's still in development (like everything in my life!). I have a beautiful McCoy pottery planter waiting for the right plant (preferably something which doesn't need a lot of sun and will produce some pretty flowers every once in a while) and there is a big box of vintage fabric that I need to get posted in my vintage shop so it can go to new homes and quit cluttering up mine!

I really like my new space - it's not something you would see in the pages of "Studios" or "Where Women Create" magazines, but I like it because it's mine and filled with things I love. Hanging in the windows are 2 stained glass windows I made several years ago, a beachglass and shell mosaic made from treaures I picked up on the beaches of Dominica, a crystal suncatcher which was a birthday gift from my friend and polymer clay artist Susan Louise. Filling the little bit of wall space to the left of my desk are pieces of art which I enjoy: a pastel of a gerbera daisy by Barb Schmidt (a Christmas present from my husband), a print from Amariah Rouscher, another piece of polymer art from Susan Louise and a sweet collage from Andrew Thornton. Squirrels play in the trees across the street, I have plans to hang a bird feeder so I can enjoy it from my perch and I finally found someplace to hang the pretty lace curtains which have been in my stash for a few years. I know they are actually valances but I don't really care - they are pretty and interesting to look at and can be moved aside when I want a better view out the window.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TED Tuesday - Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he's studying wisdom.

Find out more about Barry Schwartz by visiting his TED bio.

This talk is titled "Our Loss of Wisdom"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

18 Hours and Counting

Well, here I am at 18 hours - almost on the dot! I have finished the center "bib" part of my embroidered necklace and now the lizard has a permanent home. I love the way the colors flow into each other. It's a bit of a gamble to try to use this many colors on one piece but I really am pleased with it :) Now, my next decision: fringe?? Also: What type of neck "strap" do I want this piece to have? And finally: What should I call this piece? (I'm thinking about calling it "Chameleon") These are questions I might have to sleep on for a while. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this peek into the process.

SOFA Chicago this weekend!

I got a call from my mom this week asking if I might like to go to Chicago to the SOFA Expo. Are you kidding??!! YES!!

I have always wanted to go to this show so this will be a really great weekend. Mom and I always have a good time whenever we travel - we seem to be very compatible with our tastes and tempo - I'm sure this weekend will be no different.

Anyway, SOFA stands for "Scupture Objects and Functional Art" and SOFA Chicago is going to be held on Navy Pier. There are lectures, demonstartions and 63 galleries which will be showing off their best stuff! Unfortunately, no cameras are allowed - SHUCKS!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

TED Tuesday

Welcome to TED Tuesday! Every Tuesday I will upload one of my favorite TED talks. Please visit the TED website to learn more about this inspiring conference which dares people to see the world new ways.

The following is an excerpt from the TED website regarding today's video:

"In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about."

For more information about James Howard Kunstler, read the bio following the video.

"James Howard Kunstler calls suburban sprawl "the greatest misallocation of resources the world has ever known." His arguments bring a new lens to urban development, drawing clear connections between physical spaces and cultural vitality.

Geography of Nowhere, published in 1993, presented a grim vision of America in decline -- a nation of cookie-cutter strip malls, vacuous city centers, and dead spaces wrought by what Kunstler calls the ethos of Happy Motoring: our society-wide dependence on the automobile.

The Long Emergency (2005) takes a hard look at energy dependency, arguing that the end of the fossil fuels era will force a return to smaller-scale, agrarian-focused communities and an overhaul of many of the most prominent and destructive features of postwar society.

His confrontational approach and propensity for doomsday scenarios make Kunstler a lightning rod for controversy and critics. But his magnificent rants are underscored with logic and his books are widely read, particularly by architectural critics and urban planners.

"The upside of Kunstler's anger is that he's getting people to sit up and take notice."
- Outside magazine

Another Update

I haven't had too much time to work on my embroidered piece but did find some time tonight, finally. I'm up to 15 hours and, no, the lizard is still not attached - I just like to put him up there to show where he'll be eventually.