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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Morning Coffee - Glass Duo

From what I hear, I'm the last person in the entire world to know about these talented people! While I am  classical music geek, of sorts, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor is not one of my favorites (I really don't like organ music in general) but it takes on a very different feel when played on the glass harp. Anyway, I hope you find it as mesmerizing as I did!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

We had the first snow of the season (that stuck around for a while, anyway!) this past weekend. We haven't seen too many rabbits running around the neighborhood since some cats moved in a 2 years ago but there was evidence of at least one in the new-fallen snow!
Bunny Tracks (photo by Cindy Caraway)

"The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B."
- James Yorke

"It's much easier to suggest solutions when you don't know too much about the problem."
- Malcolm Forbes

"A fault is fostered by concealment."
- Virgil

"All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke

"Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all."
- Winston Churchill

"All the masters tell us that the reality of life - which our noisy waking consciousness prevents us from hearing - speaks to us chiefly in silence."
- Karlfried Graf Durckheim

"Other people do not have to change for us to experience peace of mind."
- Gerald Jampolsky

"You will be the same person in five years that you are today except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read."
- Charles 'Tremendous' Jones

"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."
- Helen Keller

"The number of new things a man needs to learn is less important than the number of old things he needs to be reminded of."
- Samuel Johnson

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."
- Nido Qubein

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Introducing "Brocade"

The cuff made using one of the beautiful Elegant Elements clasps is finished and I'm calling it "Brocade". The texture made by the layers and ruffles of beads reminds me of the rich embroidered fabric of the same name. There is the main beaded section which you saw in an earlier post. The rest of the bracelet is made from various silver chain and finally finished with the box clasp. As an added detail, I have added a small dangle which is the main motif of the piece. My intention was to have the swirls of beadwork echo the flowing motif found on the clasp. I hope you like it! Please let me know what you think

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting closer...

One step closer to a new beautiful bead embroidered cuff! I hope you like these shots. The main section is finished - now for finishing with chain and beads and the stunning silver Elegant Elements clasp from The Beadsmith!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Elegant Elements Seaky Peek

Just some peeks at the piece I'm working on for one of the Elegant Elements clasps I received from The Beadsmith...

Cheers! I'm off to do those dishes I've been ignoring because of beading!! :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elegant Elements in Stormy Blues and Silver

Yesterday I showed you the beautiful clasps sent to me by The Beadsmith. Even though I had a long list of things to do, I just couldn't help myself but to drop it all and start on a new project (who really wants to do dishes, anyway?). Those of you have been hanging around a while know that every project starts with the grand gathering of bits and bobs surrounding a color scheme or theme. This project will be a bead embroidered cuff bracelet using the silver clasp and I selected a nice assortment of beads in stormy blues and silver tones. I'm hoping to capture the lovely curves of the clasp in the beadwork - I'll be sure to share the journey.
Here are some shots of the gathered goodies - I would love to know what you think!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Registration is open for STITCHED 2012!!

I hope some of you lovely people will want to get involved in STITCHED 2012! I have been invited along with 19 talented fiber artists to present a series of video tutorials and classes. For information about the artists and projects - check out my blog post "Announcing STITCHED 2012". Here is some info about the series of workshops and what you will receive for your registration fee...

STITCHED is a collection of 20 online video workshops by 20 talented fabric artists.
Each workshop provides you with high value and high content information 
to get you sewing, designing and creating 20 unique fabric art and sewing projects.

How is STITCHED set up:
By registering for STITCHED you have access to all the STITCHED workshops all at one time. You are able to pick and choose which ones you want to dive into first. The workshops are available to you any time you wish, until STITCHED closes on June 1, 2012 10pm EST.
Once you are invited to the private STITCHED site, you are free to view and work on any workshop you want any time of the day, any day of the week. The workshops are designed so that you can watch and easily create the project. The workshops are self-guided and you can take it at the pace that you want. If you have any questions, you can post it in the STITCHED site, and the instructor will help you. It is that simple.

What do I get as a STITCHED student?
-As a STITCHED student, you have access to all the STITCHED video workshops.
The workshops have been designed and created by the talented cast of STITCHED instructors.
Each workshop includes a pdf file which you can print and keep for future reference.
Each PDF file contains information about each workshop, including a pattern (if applicable).
-In addition to the 20 workshops, you will also have access to a video workshop by Alma Stoller called Beaded Fabric Jewelry and 5 additional mini video workshops.
-STITCHED has received the support of several sewing, quilting and craft companies.
They have provided me with a wonderful assortment of sewing items. 
Within the STITCHED site, we will host giveaways for all STITCHED students....from sewing machines, fabric packages, sewing and embroidery notions,.....just to name a few.
Registration Information:
Early registration starts December 1st 2011.
STITCHED workshops will open on January 1st 2012

STITCHED is hosted in a private online site. Once you register, you will get an email confirmation.
On January 1st, you will receive an invitation to the private STITCHED site.

STITCHED workshops will be open from January 1st 2012 to June 1st 2012
STITCHED videos are not downloadable.
Registration is only $89. (USD)

If you would like to join me on this amazing adventure, please click here to view more details!

Elegant Elements from Beadsmith

Several bead artists and designers have been invited by The Beadsmith (a supplier of beads and bead stringing supplies to qualified wholesale distributors throughout the world) to create jewelry using a lovely new line of clasps - Elegant Elements. Lucky me! I'm one of them!

I chose 2 clasps and also asked about some cool bails they have so... one of the bails was sent along, too! Here is a shot of the goodies I received:

Stop by tomorrow for shots of the beginnings of a new bracelet! I am, as we speak, picking out some lovely beads to go with the silver clasp. Just little old me, my beads and the extended versions of Lord of the Rings... a very nice evening, indeed! :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

"Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence; they go stark, raving mad."
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"You are writing your autobiography with your checkbook and calendar."
- David Cooper

"The word 'good' has many meanings. For instance, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I would call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."
- Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child."
- Frederick Buechner

"It is not enough to aim; you must hit."
- Italian Proverb

"None of us is as smart as all of us."
- Ken Blanchard

"There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of man."
- Polybius

"What mankind wants is not talent; it is purpose."
- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

"When a girl marries, she exchanges the attentions of all the other men of her acquaintance for the inattention of just one."
- Helen Rowland

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue."
- Confucius

"I’ve always been haunted by the gap between theory and practice, the difference between what one thinks and teaches and what one does."
- Warren Bennis

"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win."
- Zig Ziglar

"Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming."
- Matthew Arnold

"Experience is knowing a lot of things you shouldn’t do."
- William S. Knudsen

"Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, Moses started as a basket case."
- Unknown

"The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing."
- Epictetus

"Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur."
- Henry Miller

"Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story."
- John Barth

"The world pays more attention to your conduct than it does to your creed."
- Michael Guido

"Trusted counselors, mentors and guides make an indelible mark on the lives they touch, and they provide the two ingredients to success in life--caring and sharing--that cannot be learned or purchased."
- David Cottrell

"There is no success without a successor."
- Peter Drucker

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gifts! Yay!

My friend Gail stopped by one morning with a perfect gift for me - vintage jewelry!! Such a pretty bundle of treasures...
Pretty silver shoe clips

The piece-de-resistance! This incredible beaded necklace!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A 2nd attempt

Still trying to figure out the journal cover project, I tried one using quilt scraps but this time I made the cover with a turned edge. There were several things that didn't work. First, I did not account for the extra size needed because of the bulk of the quilt fragment so the cover was a bit too small. Then, in my attempt to make the composition book fit better, I chopped off the edge of the covers. Hmmm... that wasn't such a great idea either. In the end, it was decided this cover would be better if I tear it out and do blanket stitch on the raw edges like the first one. The positive point - the quilt remnant for this one rocks and I love the antique shell button! Anyway, here is the second attempt for you to look at...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

Morning Drops - photo by Cindy Caraway

"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend."
- Corey Ford

"Long-range planning works best in the short term."
- Doug Evelyn

"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it."
- John Steinbeck

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
- Charles Mackay

"There's no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There is only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen."
- Wayne Dyer

"Trust him little who praises all, him less who censures all, and him least who is indifferent about all."
- Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Keep meetings to the shortest time needed to cover a brief agenda."
- Robert Heller

"Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was."
- Joseph Heller

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done."
- Henry Ford

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
- Roger Caras

"Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves that necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question."
- Yogi Berra

"A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others."
- L. Frank Baum - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

"Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys."
- Alphonse de Lamartine

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Mom and I were off to the Quad Cities Festival of Trees (sponsored by Quad City Arts) last weekend. There were so many beautiful trees and holiday decorations to see - I loved just about everything I saw! Here is a little peek of some of my favorites - Enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mini Journal Cover Tutorial

I made this mini journal cover last night - I think it turned out pretty cute, too! Since this was my first crack at it, it didn't turn out perfectly but I had somehow managed to take some photos during the process and thought I'd share them with you as a tutorial of sorts. There were some steps I didn't catch on film but I hope you will still be able to follow the instructions and... I hope you like it!

I bought some mini composition books at the local big-box office store - they are the perfect size for carrying in a purse or jacket pocket - but the cover art is certainly less-than-inspiring! A new jacket was needed! So... here's how I started...

Using an old envelope, I made a template of the raw dimensions - this template is the exact size of the journal when laid out completely flat and takes into account the width of the spine.

Then, so I never have to measure the darned thing again, I write two sets of measurements on it - the "raw" size and the expanded size after adding 1/2" seam allowance.

Since this cover fits over the journal like a book jacket, I needed to decide the dimensions of the flaps - I decided they should be 2 1/2" wide. Then, because I really don't like measuring in eighths of inches, I expanded the other measurements again by 1/8" to get these:

Using these expanded measurements, I made a final template from a left-over chipboard box. I will use these to trace around before cutting the pieces.

For the journal cover you will need 4 pieces of fabric - 2 for the cover flaps, 1 for the front cover and one for the lining. If you don't care about seeing the stitching and such from the cover embellishments, you could nix the lining piece but I think having the lining also provides some overall structure.
Now for the fun part! Pick out some pleasing scraps, trims and embroidery floss and start layering to make a fabric collage. It doesn't need to be big or fancy (unless, of course, you want it to be big and fancy!).

Sew everything into place. I enjoy handsewing so I basically embroidered everything into place...

Since I wanted to use a button for the closure, I added that after all the other embellishing was done.

Finish one long edge of each flap by turning a hem, sewing a zip-zag stitch or handsewing a whip stitch or blanket stitch.

Then layer your pieces: the embellished cover face down, the lining fabric face up and the flap pieces aligned at each end with the finished edge toward the center.

I decided to finish my edges with blanket stitch - like so...

You could also do a quick zig-zag stitch around the entire piece, too.

The last step was to make a string wrap for the closure and sew it on to the edge of the back flap and slip my little composition book into it's new jacket!

Voila!! I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial - I would love to know if you give it a try. Comments, please!! :)