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, March 31, 2010

Chakra Necklace

I just wanted to share with you my latest piece. This necklace was a custom order from a wonderful client of mine. She had seen photos of another one I sold a few years ago and wanted her own. CHAKRA consists of 7 individual pendants in the rainbow colors of the Chakra. They can be worn individually or all together to make a colorful statement!! I enjoyed making this piece so much that I am offering to make more custom pieces like it. Visit my shop on Etsy to see the listing information. No two will be alike - the pendants can be any shape and the palette can be changed to suit personal tastes - your own personalized "chakra". I can see it looking lovely in pastels on a string of pearls or in classic colors of the southwest - turquoise, coral, rust reds, desert tan - or in bold shades of gray going from black to white. The possibilities are endless! Here are some shots of both Chakra necklaces made to date - please feel free to comment! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Having Fun and Blue Green

Here are some pretty Etsy treasuries I found my work in lately. The first was curated by my friend Kath of ThingsOldeAndNew. She put together this fun collection called "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and included my Mardi Gras beaded cuff bracelet.

The second was curated by Smadar of Smadar's Treasures. She included "Sage and Champagne" from my caraway shop. Be sure to visit both of these shops to see the pretty treasures there!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Best Movies for Artistic Inspiration

Movies are a fantastic source of artistic inspiration for me and I thought I might share some favorites with you.

"On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)" (1970)
How can you go wrong with a movie that combines Barbra Streisand's singing and acting, fabulous costuming/set decor and reincarnation?? Barbra plays Daisey Gamble, a girl with the mysterious talent of making flowers grow as well as a significant addiction to cigarettes (5 packs a day!). Hoping that hypnosis will cure her of her nicotine habit, she starts seeing a psychologist, Dr. Chabot (played by Yves Montand). He quickly comes to realize that when Daisey is under hypnosis, he can access apparent past lives.
Watch it, you'll love it!

"Nanny McPhee" (2005)
This movie, which stars Emma Thompson and Colin Firth, is a visual delight! The house, built especially for the movie is so spectacular that you will want to live there. The costuming is vibrant and the characters engaging. Another plus: the featurettes and commentaries (especially the commentary by Emma Thompson and Producer Lindsay Doran). Watch them all!

"Monsters, Inc."(2001)
Not only is this masterpiece from the wizards at Pixar full of amazing color inspiration, the architecture is fantastic.Yes, even computer animated architecture can be inspiring! Here is a little taste of the color inspiration to be had from this movie - if the opening credits are this good, the actual movie HAS to be great!

"Chocolat" (2000)
OK... Chocolate, Johnny Depp and Django Rinehardt - what more do I have to say?? OK... the setting, story, stellar cast and costuming aren't too shabby either. Be sure to watch the extra features and listen to the director's commentary. There are some really great tidbits on this DVD.
Don't know who Django Rinehardt is? Django was a Gypsy jazz guitarist and some of his tunes are featured in the "Chocolat" soundtrack. I've also included a clip of him playing with St├ęphane Grappelli and the Quintette du Hot Club de France following the "Chocolat" trailer

"Finding Nemo" (2003)
Another masterpiece from those fabulous artists at Pixar! I mean, come on! It takes place in the ocean so you know there is some fabulous imagery here. My recommendation: Watch the movie with the visual commentary and be sure to watch the "Making of..." featurette. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Full Spectrum

Color turns me on! The more color, the brighter the color, the more I like it! This love of color is helping me in my otherwise mundane task of sorting and re-organizing the specialty beads in the studio. I am slowly (too slowly) working my way through the spectrum of color from the center out, I think. Here are some shots of what I have finished all laid out like a rainbow. Maybe a party will be in order for the day it all finally gets finished! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weeeee're Off to See the Wizard....

Well, I finished!! Wasn't too sure I would be able to get it done before the deadline but I must have those of you who crossed your fingers for me to thank :)

EMERALD CITY is posted and ready to take on the formidable talents of the Etsy Beadweavers. There are some absolutely fabulous entries for this challenge. It's easy to check them all out by doing a search for "ebwc" in the "handmade" category.

More tomorrow about that - tonight I'm tired from so much beadwork!! :) I'll leave you with a few more shots of EMERALD CITY:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fairy Tales and Fabulous Beadwork

Green bead soup all ready to go!

Well, "Better late than never" is how the saying goes and I am living proof of that! As of yesterday morning I was certain that I didn't have time to participate in the Etsy Beadweavers challenge for March themed "Fairy Tales". Entries are due by midnight on the 5th and it just didn't seem do-able. Not only had my entry not been started, it hadn't even been conceived! So finding myself with a little free time (which never happens, and shouldn't considering the amount of housework, organizing, and so on, that need to be done around here!! Dishes?? Who needs clean dishes? Anyway... :-P) I looked up "fairy tales" on Wikipedia and got a whole list. I was hoping while browsing the list that inspiration would take hold and present an idea for the challenge. Actually, nothing really struck me until I got to "The Wizard of OZ" which is funny because it's never been my favorite story or movie (even though I do love Judy Garland) but my favorite color is green and I immediately thought of the Emerald City. So, I hauled out some of my newly organized beads and made a pretty bead soup in shades of green. (**hold that thought**)

Now, here is where I should tell you about a fabulous bead artist whose blog I follow even though I can't read a word of it. The blog is titled "ibolya-gyongy" which translates to "Violet-beads". Violet is Hungarian and makes the most beautiful bead woven jewelry. Her latest pieces use a free-form brick stitch technique and they are truly out-of-this-world! Here are just a few examples of Violet's jewelry (visit her blog to see more!):

Violet's lovely pieces have inspired me to spend some time exploring free-form brick stitch and get back to making some larger scale pieces again. Now, my Emerald City cuff is by no means a "large-scale" project but I hope it is a jumping off point to bigger and better things to come. And, so, using her beautiful brick stitch technique as inspiration to improve my own, I have set off down the yellow brick road on a new bead-y adventure. Here are few shots of "Emerald City", in progress. Cross your fingers and I just might get it done in time! :)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Inspiration Kit - "Butterflies Are Free"

Are you ready for Spring?? This kit will certainly get you in the mood!! I have had this beautiful butterfly tin for what seems like a long time. Since it's too pretty to keep stowed away it has now become the inspiration for a Spring-themed inspiration kit called "Butterflies Are Free". This sweet kit features some lovely silk roses in yellow, vintage pink seam binding ribbon, vintage white rick rack, two vintage wooden spools of thread in springy shades of green and blue, Rose Quartz stone chip beads, a card of vintage buttons and 2 brass butterfly charms. These treasures are securely wrapped in the vintage handmade doily of sparkly silver, pink and yellow and lovingly packed into the pretty vintage enamel tin. This and other inspiration kits are available for sale now at CarawayCache.

(click on the pictures to see them better!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March give-away!! SUMMER HARVEST Inspriation Kit

Well, February certainly flew by!! I can't believe it's March already but I'm soooo happy it's March because the first day of Spring is in March - Yay!

So, since I'm looking forward to warm weather I chose my "Summer Harvest" inspiration kit to offer for this month's give-away.

It is made up of lots of fabulous vintage (and a few not-so-vintage) treasures. It includes lots of vintage trims including some yellow ball fringe, green rick rack, red seam binding lace, a small bag of seed beads in a color mix of red and green, a nice collection of vintage buttons in white yellow, green and red, some vintage green plastic farm animals, a red enamel filigree metal heart ornament and a small handmade crocheted doily. These treasures are securely wrapped in the vintage fruit print fabric remnant and lovingly packed into the pretty tin.

If you'd like to be included in the drawing for this sweet kit, just leave a comment anywhere on my blog during the month of March. Just click on the pictures below for a better look and dream of warm days :)

February give-away winner!

The winner of Grandma's Attic inspiration kit is...

Carol DeLater of 

 Congrats, Carol!!