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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Our latest fishing trip :)

Most of my posts are about beads, beadwork and beading. But there are other things I enjoy and tops on my list (after beading) is fishing! We have small fishing boat and had some time on Sunday to get out on the Mississippi for a few hours. We did catch a few but are getting soft-hearted - with our freezer nearly full, we are less likely to keep the fish we catch these days. Here are few shots from our latest excursion :)

Dan caught a nice channel cat

It must be that vintage Coors hat he got at a garage sale Saturday!

My first fish of the day was a Freshwater Drum - He was way too little to keep :(

On our way back in we saw the "Twilight" riverboat which does overnight excursions from LaClaire to Dubuque.

One of our dreams is to someday live on a houseboat - spend the winters in New Orleans and the summer in Wisconsin or Minnesota. We liked this little houseboat!

Pulling the boat out

Our fancy rig

Dan's tackle box... and mine. I bet he can't hook his onto a beltloop!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beaded Bon Bons and ByHand.Me

Glenda from ByHand.Me has included one of my Beaded Bon Bon pendants in her latest collection. I love my little bon bons and have several listed in my "caraway" shop on Etsy. The "classic" beaded bon bons (BBB) are made from vintage bead cluster earrings of the 40's and 50's. I also make "original" BBB using the same techniques but these are my creations made using my huge stash of beads, both vintage and new. The BBB featured here is "Raspberry Tart"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Saturday tag sale finds

As some of you probably know, I sell vintage goods and craft supplies (also vintage) on Etsy in my shop called "CarawayCache". I find most of my shop items at garage sales or thrift shops - sometimes I get really lucky and bags of old jewelry or clothing just come my way from friends and family members. This one was of those really great weeks for vintage treasures. I should have some of these listed in my vintage shop later this week. Here are some shots of the great stuff I found this week:

I found this beautiful tin...
...full of BUTTONS!!

While I was sorting ALL those buttons...

...I found some really cool ones - like these!!!

I got a bag full of old jewelry from a friend - here's just a bit of it.

I pulled this box full of vintage fabric out from under a table at a garage sale.

Here are the stacks of fabric - along with a vintage quilt top - from that box.

Some gold-tone jewelry I hope to use in some of my upcycled jewelry pieces.

Some pretty vintage, silk scarves along with some funky vintage jewelry.

I bought a plastic bag full of vintage puzzle pieces from the 40's or 50's. When I got them home I put the pieces together, thrilled to find that they made 3 separate children's puzzles with no missing pieces!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New projects and "Mexical Rose"

Mexicali Rose

When I am in need of inspiration, I will adventure into my *almost* ALWAYS messy studio... I mean, closet... and put together little baggies. These baggies include the components of a possible project - the focal piece(s), seed beads in coordinating colors along with other beads which fit the color-scheme, beading thread, possible clasps, etc... All of the treasures in the bag will either remain there until I decide (1.) I didn't really want to make that necklace after all, or (2.) I need that particular seed bead (or focal piece, or clasp, ...) for something else OR (3.) they will eventually become a finshed piece of beadwork.

I had pulled together some baggies and started on one project which gave me nothing but a headache. The focal is a beautiful jasper bead in shades of deep green, pink and white with just a wisp of lavender. I brought together a great mix of beads - rose quartz chips, mother-of-pearl beads, cultured pearls, malachite chips... Perfect, right??? Well, I started, stopped and tore it part 3 times before I finally decided that everything should go back into the bag for another day.

So, on to the next bag... This one had a lovely focal piece - a large shell with a vivid picture of a rose on it. The colors practically jump out at you - how can you go wrong with turquoise blue and fuchsia pink? (I am such a child of the 80's!!) Well, there was no tearing out on this one. It came together like a charm and I love how it looks!

I call it "Mexicali Rose". The large focal piece is set in a peyote stitch bezel and backed with suede leather - the edges are finished with a row of seed beads using brick stitch. The pendant is suspended from a spiral rope necklace with an adjustable, repurposed clasp in an antique brass finish. The pendant measures 3" x 3 1/2" not including the bail and the necklace can be 16" to 18" long. This necklace will be available in my "caraway" store on Etsy and also in my 1000 Markets shop.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finally published! Oct 2009 Bead and Button

One of my yearly goals for 2008 was to submit my work for publication. Ultimately my submission was sent in just under the clock in 2008 - realizing that I hadn't met many of the goals I set for myself - a last ditch effort was made. It's not like it's hard to send in a submission for most things anymore - most publications, juried calls and other competitions accept applications via email with jpeg images. You don't even have to leave your home to send in a submission!! In this quest, I really wasn't too picky about whether it was a craft book or monthly magazine but I wanted to get SOMETHING out there. It has finally happened - In the October 2009 issue of Bead and Button magazine you can find me TWICE! My "Nile Queen" necklace is featured in the "Your Work" section on page 14 and then my "Waves of Symmetry" cuff project is on page 42. Originally they were to have been in 2 different issues (which would have been nice) but I'm pretty happy they were chosen at all. I'm not sure why I waited so long to blog about this - the magazine has been on newsstands for nearly 2 weeks - it just seems kind of surreal in a way.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mary's Green Cuff bracelet

Here are some photos of the finished product, as promised! Enjoy (and comment, if you like)!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Internet (finally!!) and a commission - Woo Hoo! :D

Well, we finally have internet! I'm so happy and have been perusing the blogs I have had to skip visiting in the past 2 weeks. So much new to see! It's kind of fun, actually :)

I also have just finished up a commission project. The client loves green and so I made her this embroidered cuff bracelet. I think it turned out SO nice. I hope she likes it but then I also hope she doesn't cause I could just as well make her another one and keep this one for myself!! Anyway, I hope you will agree that it's lovely and "mossy". These are some photos I took "in progress" - I will add some finished photos tomorrow when I have some nice light.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Internet will be up TOMORROW!! Yay!!

Well, after two weeks of no internet at our house, we will finally get wired (or wireless, I should say) tomorrow!! Wow! It will be SOOOOO nice not to have to drive to the library, pay for parking and set the timer so as to not get a parking ticket (again). It will also be nice to be able to stream "Dr. Who" on Netflix again :)

I do have a new project to share with you. This is a necklace I made using a large resin bead I picked up in NYC on a recent visit. Turquoise is one of my favorite colors and I love working with it. I beaded a peyote bezel around the flat rectangular bead using a combination of seed beads in turquoise, purple, gold and red. I had found a beaded choker at a thrift shop which had turquoise nuggets and hieshi and red coral slices. I added some amethyst rounds to compliment the color scheme and here it is! I don't have a name for it yet, so suggestions are appreciated!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Still no internet but the Borscht was delicious!!

Well, I am going on a week and a half with no internet connection from my home - another week to go before our new connection is up. I hate to admit that I am getting used to going to the library to do my work - the only frustration is that I cannot access Etsy treasuries. Some strange firewall thing, I suppose...

I am still working on the piece which features the dichroic glass cabs but decided to take a break and make an entry for the Etsy BeadWeavers September challenge - Indian Summer. My entry is called "Indian Summer" - it features a jasper cab surrounded by a peyote bezel of seed beads and Czech fire-polished crystals. I though the colors were perfect for this challenge.

Indian Summer Beaded Pendant

Last weekend, my husband and I had house guests and went to the "Irish Hooley" down on the riverfront here in Dubuque. Dan's cousin Mary and her husband Erik visited from Chicago to see the sights of Dubuque and attend the "Hooley". First, we had a lunch of Borscht which Dan made using veggies from our jungle... er... I mean... garden. The beets were so beautiful - I had to take some photos to share because they looked like jewels!

The Beautiful Beets

Dan Making Borscht

The borscht was SO GOOD!

We had the best time but it was very cold - we were quite chilly by the time the featured act - "Gaelic Storm" - came on at 8:30pm. Here are some photos from the Hooley:

Erik lookin' SEXY in that Hat!

Dan & I at the Hooley - that root beer was just the appetizer for a Guiness!!

On the grounds at the Hooley behind the historic Star Brewery

Enjoying Gaelic Storm