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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Morning Coffee - Truths

This short collection of "truths" arrived in my email from a favorite uncle not too long ago. While cleaning out my over-loaded inbox this morning, I found them, dusted them off and though they would make a good "Morning Coffee" entry for this Monday morning. Do you have any "truths" of your own to add to the list?? Would love to hear them - leave a comment!! :)

Truths for Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24.The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gothic Blue Fabric Cuff

Well, I finally finished my second fabric cuff creation using one of my roses - I'm calling it Gothic Blue Cuff - pretty snappy name, huh? I'm so bad at naming my pieces - maybe naming isn't really necessary...

Anyway, I really like this one!! I have been wearing it to work in this morning and it's so comfy and light - I hardly notice I have it on.

It's hard to take a photo of jewelry on yourself!!

Besides the blue fabric rose, there are some reclaimed, beaded Mobius knot earrings, chenille yarn, antique lace flowers decorated with pretty crystals and clay raven beads. It closes with snaps and is very secure and easy to put on and take off. Here are a couple of pics for you to take a look at - I may post this one later today in my jewelry shop on Etsy - if I think I can part with it!! :)

(Click on the pics for a better look)

Morning Coffee - OK GO!, IKEA and Puppy Dogs

I love these guys. OK GO! have the most innovative music videos ever and this one takes the cake! How can you go wrong with their great music, IKEA furnishings and lots of dogs (except for the one goat, can you find him?). Anyway, enjoy!! :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Garland and Grace

Lisa McGown has a great blog ( and a sweet Etsy shop ( was so kind as to feature some of my beaded cuffs in one of her posts and then asked if I would like to be her first blog interview!! Yay! I, of course, said "Yes!". Now, I certainly hope you will stop by to read the interview but I REALLY hope you will check out all the sweet things in her shop and maybe become a follower of her blog.

Here are some oh-so-cute items you will find at Garland and Grace on Etsy:

Custom Boutique Hair Bow Holder

Boutique Bow Holder

Morning Coffee - Beads and the Dawn of Civilization

Here is an interesting YouTube video regarding the evolution of humankind and the discovery of the oldest beads in the world. What the finding of these beads and how they were produced says about the development of man and culture is pretty interesting! Enjoy :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rekindling an Old Flame and The Need to Destash

I've been reunited with a former love but my husband need not worry. The old flame I'm speaking of is hand sewing and embroidery. Ahhhhh.... so nice to be back where I started! Handmade objects, no matter how crude or refined, have always held a fascination for me, especially Victorian crafts like crazy quilts, tatted lace and embroidery. I'm sure I've mentioned to you the crazy quilt I made from men's vintage brocade ties. Well, if I haven't.... I once made a crazy quilt using men's vintage ties. The process was truly wondrous to me at the time and I felt transported by it.

In a nutshell, I love this quilt. It's not anywhere near the size I wanted it to be, it's backed with a very unglamorous twin sized sheet and it's sort of falling apart after being dragged around the world with me and living on my bed for many, many years but I still love it. It is completely hand quilted and embroidered with ribbons, doilies, lace and buttons. The quilting was done in squares so it would be easy to transport the section I was working on at any given time. I kept my supplies in an old candy tin which I had lined with a bit of terry cloth. This was a great way to pass time when I was gallivanting around the country with a touring musical group or working aboard cruise ships back in the 80's and 90's. I did ultimately sew the squares together using a sewing machine - so I guess I cheated a little!

The only way I can describe going back to hand sewing and embroidery is that I was simply jonesin' for it. That's it... jonesin'. I felt a need to work with fabric and just HAD to get back to it! That is what led me to start making fabric roses and then fabric cuff bracelets (sort of like crazy quilts in the miniature!) and what has also led me to do yet ANOTHER reorganization of my studio (aka. 4' x 8' closet). The fabric and trims I want to use in the cuffs need to be accessible and sorted so I can find them easier. That means that some stuff has to go someplace else and when you live in a house as small as the one I live in, that means it has to actually go someplace else all together.

So, you know what it means when I reorganize my studio, right? That means DESTASH!! Yay! And that means lots of lots (you know... big bunches of stuff) going up for sale in my shops on Etsy and Ebay (yes, I said Ebay - dang it, anyway - but if you want it to sell fast and cheap, that's where you list it!). So, if you need some goodies and supplies at your house, please visit my shops. I love it when I can send things to a new home rather than donating. Not that donating is bad - I totally believe in donating - but I somehow think that alot of stuff just gets tossed because the people at the local thrift stores just don't see the same value in old stuff as I (and many others) do.

So, here are some of the lots of treasures available now or that you can expect to see going up for bids in the next few days - Let me know if you see something you like and we can haggle, baby!

Gothic Blue Fabric Cuff

Was home sick with a cold yesterday - actually, I'm always home since I work from home but I'm usually not sick so... you know what I mean... :-P

Since I felt kind of crappy, I decided to put in some of my favorite movies and relax a little. I really wanted to make another fabric cuff using one of the roses I made the other day so I threw together some goodies for inspiration. Since the rose I wanted to use is blue with black veins, I gathered together lots of lace, ribbon, beads and bobs in mostly black with a little blue.

The cuff has a decidedly Gothic feel to it so far - I'm pleased with how it's turning out. The hard part is deciding what to add next!

So, since I'm still feeling a bit under the weather it's movie time again tonight! Guess what I'll be working on??

Monday, September 13, 2010

My First Fabric Cuff

As I said in an earlier post, I have been fascinated by the wonderful fabric cuffs and rolled fabric roses found on Etsy (and elsewhere, of course!) and decided to give them a try. I made several roses in different colors - I still haven't done anything with most of them yet - but I did take my favorite of the bunch and set about to making a fabric cuff featuring it as a centerpiece. Here is the final product!!
Wearing my creation!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moring Coffee Quotes

"The two greatest mistakes in life are mathematical: misjudging the brevity of life and miscalculating the length of eternity."
- Unknown

"It is not seeing the difficulties that prevents action, but failing to see the resources."
- John White

"Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so."
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"Never let the urgent crowd out the important."
- Stephen R. Covey

"Football is a sport that bears the same relationship to education that bullfighting does to agriculture."
- Elbert Hubbard

"Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital."
- Aaron Levenstein

"Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them."
- Adlai Stevenson

"Perhaps the world's second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore."
- Sir Cecil Beaton

"I'd rather be rejected than used because they both amount to the same thing in the end, but being used takes a lot longer."
- Marilyn vos Savant

"Faith is not a thing which one loses; we merely cease to shape our lives by it."
- Georges Bernanos

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."
- Benjamin Franklin

"There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you."
- William Hazlitt

"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."
- James Baldwin

"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry."
- Thomas Paine

"Luck is not chance, it's toil; fortune's expensive smile is earned."
- Emily Dickinson

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true."
- Robert Brault

"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he should be, and he will become what he could be."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
- Jerry Seinfeld

"A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company."
- Charles Evans Hughes

"The world is full of suffering; it is also full of the overcoming of it."
- Helen Keller

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and a willingness to remain vulnerable."
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm Obsessed!

Working with fabric has always been a love of mine so it might sound odd when I tell you that I sold my sewing machine at a garage sale last year. The reason is because we live in pretty limited space and there just isn't room for sewing - at  least on a machine. Way back when, I really enjoyed hand-sewing and did quite alot of it. I made a crazy quilt out of men's brocade ties and did all the fancy embroidery and added silk ribbon flowers, lace and such. Somehow, I got away from that but have really had a hankerin' lately to get out my fabric scraps, ribbon and embroidery floss. So, I did.

I have been admiring the jewelry and clothing with rolled fabric roses on it for a while now but yesterday I simply HAD to figure out how to make them! When I say I HAD to I mean I HAD to!! (Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you??).  At times like those, the internet truly is a magical thing. Do a Google search for just about anything and you will come up with 50 pages of websites that have information you might be interested in. I found about a hundred sites that offered advice, tutorials (for free and for sale) and You Tube videos. Anyway, I gave it my best try while watching "Pushing Daisies" (I miss that show). Here are some of my first attempts:

Some of these I'm going to use in necklaces but I decided to use my favorite as the centerpiece for a fancy embroidered, mixed media fabric cuff. I threw together an inspiration kit to get me started. Many of the components here will ultimately get used in the project but some will just be there for "moral support".

Then I thought it would be nice to have all of these pretty morsels in a small case so I can take this project on the road, if needed. I have 2 or 3 small vintage sewing boxes and decided to use one as my little travel sewing valise.

Everything fits so nicely, don't you think?? Now I just need some fancy little embroidery scissors. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Morning Coffee Quotes

"Primeval Whirl", Disney's Animal Kingdom - Summer 2008 (photo by Cindy Caraway)

“If the whole world followed you, would you be pleased with where you took it?”
- Neale Donald Walsch

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.”
- Ludwig Börne

“Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
- John Wooden

“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.”
- Henri Louis Bergson

“What torments of grief you endured, from evils that never arrived.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don't do well simply because they major in minor things.”
- Jim Rohn

“There is no worse sorrow than remembering happiness in the day of sorrow.”
- Alfred De Musset

“To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.”
- Will Durant

“We have the Bill of Rights.
What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.”
- Bill Maher

“You can't manage what you don't measure.”
- Old Adage (often erroneously attributed to W. Edwards Deming)

“Respect gained by fear is only an empty pretense that turns to contempt the moment the threat disappears.”
- Michael Josephson

“An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him.”
- Zig Ziglar

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Morning Coffee Quotes

Smoky Mountains - Summer 2008
"Before we blame, we should first see if we can't excuse."
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."
- Leo Aikman

"For most leaders, the great challenge is not understanding the practice of leadership: It is practicing their understanding of leadership."
- Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan

"As long as the world keeps spinning, we're gonna be dizzy, and we're gonna make mistakes."
- Mel Brooks

"Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see."
- Paul Klee

"Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought."
- Dwight W. Morrow

"Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory."
- Leonardo da Vinci

"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."
- Niels Bohr

"An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day."
- D.H. Lawrence

"Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact."
- William James

"Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard."
- Unknown

"Be not simply good, be good for something."
- Henry David Thoreau

"Statistics are no substitute for judgment."
- Henry Clay

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Construction Zone

Here is a sneaky peek at what I'm working on at the moment. Hmmm... what are the chances I'll actually get this piece done in time for the Etsy Beadweavers monthly challenge...