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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Venus Envy 2010 - opening festivities are tomorrow!

This will be third year my artwork has been accepted in to the "Venus Envy" art exhibit which takes place every spring at the Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport, IA. The event will feature the artwork and talent of over 60 regional female artists through a gallery exhibition and live performances. Four pieces of my beaded jewelry will be on display - here are some shots to tempt you:

Dan & I will be there with some friends. Maybe we'll see you there?? :)

Here's a bit more about the exhibit - stolen... I mean, copied... from the Bucktown website:
 Venus Envy Invades the Quad Cities – All Female Arts ExtravaganzaVenus Envy is a celebration of female creativity, empowering women through the arts of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, multimedia installations, written and spoken word.
Venus Envy’s exhibits are renowned for their eye-popping array of
media, styles, and content.
All participating artists are from within a 200-mile radius of the Quad Cities.

Fifty visual artists have been selected to participate in Venus Envy Quad Cities.
With so many artists the variety of work is startling, although one prevailing theme is the strength of women.

The evening’s performances will showcase a variety of work from ballet to flamenco, folk music to drums, original theatre and music, and the ever-favorite belly dancing on two stages. 
For the first time, one stage will be located outside near Bucktown.

New this year is the addition of outside activities (weather permitting) including a Bohemian old-world inspired marketplace with artists selling as well as demonstrating their art form and original artist multimedia installations. A string trio of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will perform throughout the evening.

Venus Envy was founded in St. Louis in 1999 and has since expanded to include sister cities including the Quad Cities and Baton Rouge – all located along the Mississippi River.
The Venus Envy Quad Cities event is free to the public; donations will be accepted.
The content of all shows is intended for mature audiences.

Treasury East - Summer Vacation at the Beach!

One of the newest pieces form my studio space was featured in a Treasury East. Those of you familiar with Etsy already know about Treasury Main and Treasury West. This is a new spot for member curators to put together collections of their favorite items.

I was happy to find "Beachcomber" in this Treasury East collection called "Summer Vacation at the Beach!" by annasquiltnstuff. It certainly made me wish I lived near the turquoise blue of the Caribbean and could feel the warm sand between my toes...

Anna didn't include anything from her shop in the collection but she has several which would have fit right in. Here is one - Beach Ocean Scene Wall Hanging - form her shop. Be sure to make a visit and see her other creations!

Well, unfortunately, the house stuff is on hold for a bit. The deal is "up in the air" and I will be sure to let you know "what comes down" - no matter what that may be. Let's just say we're being "Fannie"d about :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And now... back to the studio!

OK, I know, it's about time...
Today I forced myself to put down the paint chips and decor magazines and get my butt to the studio. It's hard to get motivated to work on one thing when your mind is so full of another but it was good to get back to beading. I picked out something easy to get myself back into gear and thought I'd share a little shot of my workspace at the end of the day -

Monday, April 19, 2010

15 Years Ago Today and the Odd Strength of Humankind

15 years ago today... I woke up in a hotel room in Denver, CO to the news of the Oklahoma City bombing. I had arrived in Denver fairly late the night before in my little red Ford Festiva which I had driven through an April snowstorm to start work as an entertainer and show manager at Elitch Gardens theme park. This was one of many springs which found me on the way to a job somewhere. Spring was when rehearsals started for the summer theme park and resort season. Every Spring, even though I haven't had a summer theme park job in more years than I'd like to count, I still get the urge to go, to pack, to set out. I actually DO think that one of the things I enjoyed best about being a professional entertainer was "The Move" - a new town or cruise ship, a new cast, new things to explore. Even though my memories of Denver are of the shows, the city, the friends I made that summer - the beginning of my time there will be forever linked to the Oklahoma City tragedy. It surprises me how one thing can be so joyous and the other so unspeakably sad and they can both find space in my heart and memory. That the ugliness of the one has never diminished the bright memories of the other.

I remember that morning really well. I had just woken up and turned on the TV for some weather (it HAD just snowed the day before, after all!) and saw the bleak images of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building - half of it blown away. I don't recall how long I watched the scene unfold or listened to the commentary of the reporters. I called my Mom to let her know I had arrived in Denver safely. We talked of my father, now retired, but at the time, a firefighter for the City of Dubuque. Thinking, if this had happened in Dubuque, Dad would be there, risking his life amidst all that ruin, helping to save lives and find loved ones. I'm not sure in all the 42 years he was a firefighter (yes, you read that correctly - 42 years), that he once thought of himself as a hero although he was recognized for being one on several occasions. What I also remember about that morning is thinking "Jeepers! Rehearsals start tomorrow and I have to make appointments to look at apartments and pick up the choreographer at the airport and..." So, while life was standing painfully still for others - this is how I imagine it must feel to someone waiting to hear the fate of a loved one, hoping to rejoice but knowing they may not. Thankfully, I can only imagine these feelings - and they are too much for me to bear even in my imagination! I cannot fathom to think what I would do if faced with such a thing. So, while life was standing painfully still for others, I was moving on into my day... "I have to find a newspaper and check out the apartment listings, call and make appointments. Oh, yeah, I'll need a roll of quarters for the payphone...." (I'm sure some of you remember those days before cells phones and the internet.) 

Anyway, it's just so strange... surreal almost... to think that while unspeakable things are happening to others, our lives just go on. They have to, don't they? We send our prayers, our contributions, we take a few moments to rage at the forces of evil and then we get some coffee and go out into the world to do the things we do. What does this mean, exactly? Part of me wants to say it's incredibly selfish that we can do that. The other part of me thinks that this is just another of the many odd strengths of humankind. Don't get me wrong, I'm no hero because I got on with my day that morning 15 years ago. But maybe as long as some of us keep moving then there will be time for others to stand still when they need to or have to? I don't know... these are just my random thoughts for today... and 15 years ago today. Feel free to share your random thoughts...
What do you remember about that day?
How did you feel and what did you do? 
Were you "getting on" or "standing still"?

What color is your personality?? Find out!

Here's sort of a cute little color inspiration site to visit - the "True Value Color Quiz". Find out which color best matches your personality by visiting
Here's how mine came out :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

WOO HOO! My vintage shop made the FRONT PAGE!

In the two years I've been selling on Etsy, I have only been on the front page about 4 times. I have to admit that jealousy is one of my vices. There are some folks who make it to the front page every week - sometimes more than that - and I pout a little bit about that because I REALLY want to be on the front page!!

Well... I found out this morning that a deck of vintage playing cards from my vintage shop was  featured in a collection of "gladiator" themed items which was curated by Etsy. How cool is that?? How cool is it, also, that that those cards will soon have a new home because someone bought them?? Yay!


The other piece I named INTRIGUE because of the stone focal. It looks misty and mysterious - like a scene from a vintage noir film where the ingenue smokes a cigarette in the dark. It will be available in my Etsy shop later today.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Red Rocks

Here is a new piece from my studio! Ever since I lived in Southwest Arizona, anything that's a beautiful shade of orange-red reminds me of Sedona - thus the name RED ROCKS for this necklace that features a stunning glazed clay bead as the focal. Look for it in my "caraway" shop on Etsy.

Purple Lilacs and a Turquoise Sky

We enjoyed a glass of wine while sitting out in our yard last night. I picked some lilacs and arranged them in a beautiful stoneware pitcher we received as a wedding present from our high school music teacher. Dan watered our new pear tree, the dogs ran around chasing birds and squirrels and flirting with the puppies next door. Clouds starting rolling in around dusk and the sky was an incredible shade of turquoise. Here are a few pictures:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Copper Blossom Pendant

Introducing "Copper Blossom" - find it here!


Lately I have come across some blog posts where the author is dissing one of my newest favorite colors - 


How can you not love orange?? I am starting to feel like I could surround myself with it and be perfectly content. My kitchen is painted a lovely color of orange called "Indian Curry" and it's almost as yummy as the curry we sometimes make (and happily eat) in that room. You know what else I love about orange? It looks fabulous with turquoise (another one of my favorite colors). So I decided to go on a little virtual shopping spree on Etsy to see what orange (along with some turquoise) lovelies I could come up with. Here's what I found:

Visit these shops and surround yourself in sunny orange! :)
(from the top down - left to right)

Orange Chrysanthemum Necklace from BrittanyChavers

Vintage 60's Abstract Print Hippie Maxi Dress from RedAngoraVintage 

Orange Goblin Hood dress from malam

Fresh - Turquoise and Epoxy Disc Earrings from linkeldesigns


Little Bird on an Orange Elephant Photo Pendant from pinglebell

Life is a Carnival - vintage orange hoop green glass earrings from adornyou

Vintage mechanical alarm clock from ClockworkUniverse

Vintage 80s Plastic Chunky Bracelets from bontonvintage


Tulip Stack from littleputbooks

Vintage Orange Gooseneck Lamp from OctaviaBrown

Retro Mod Plastic Orange and Blue Shell Chairs from backgarage

Chandelier pillow - turquoise on orange from PillowPallooza


Two Orange and Turquoise Mugs from LynnCardwellPottery

Madame Jade's Garden - 12x12 matted kaleidoscope print from thepaintedlily

Richter VII - 12 x 12 Fine Art Print of Original Contemporary Abstract Painting from StudioMarlene

My little turquoise bowl from azulado

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The First Blossom of Spring

Here is a shot of the first blossom to appear in our yard this year! We don't have many plantings so even though there are others for whom daffodils, hyacinth and crocuses have opened their pretty petals - we await the first fragrant blossoms of the lilacs. Here she is and, oooh, she smells sweet!

Here also is a shot of the first piece of jewelry to be completed in my new studio space. Sort of fitting that it would also be in a lilac shade of purple! It features a handmade clay cabochon, amethyst stone chips and the tastiest pink glass beads (and seed beads, of course!). This little beauty will be up for grabs in my "caraway" shop on Etsy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Give-aways, a New Cooling Fan and Some Studio Space

Well, I have finally gotten my new cooling fan for the computer so, hopefully, I will get caught up on blog posts and the like. April is almost half over and I haven't done the drawing for the March give-away. I know, I'm a terrible slacker!! :-P and since I am such a terrible slacker, I'm going to extend the give-away until the end of this month BUT every comment left during the month of March will count as double!! I hope that will be fair. If you don't think so, just leave me a comment saying so - it won't change my mind but it will get you entered in the drawing for the "Summer Harvest" inspiration kit! :D Here's a shot of it to entice you...lots of little goodies in here!

Also, some news! I have opened a small studio space in our local art center! YAY! So far, I love it! I'll be sure to take my camera when I go in tomorrow and take some pictures. I've gotten some fun stuff at garage sales and the space is actually starting to look like something - I can't wait to share it with you!