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, 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!! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thrifting Treasures!

Tuesday is my errand day. Part of that day is devoted to stopping at the local thrift shops to see what treasures I can come up with. Not the largest haul I've every made but a bit of fun, a bit of fashion and some crafty goodness came to my house this week...

I am a magazine addict! I'm pretty good about not buying too many at the bookshop but when they are fairly recent and only $.25 at the thrift store - I'm a happy girl! My soft spot are travel mags and home decor. These issues of House Beautiful and Elle Decor should keep me happy for a little while.

You will also notice in this photo some wonderful upholstery fabric samples and 2 pair of super fantastic earrings! I have no idea what I will do with the fabric but the beaded earrings will go straight to my Cynthia St. Anne shop on Etsy. The enamel earrings will go in my stash for use in a jewelry project sometime down the road...

Speaking of stash... I was really excited to see some beads and a whole baggie of chain remnants in the "craft bin" at my favorite thrift store.
These are great and the beads are VINTAGE, no less!! Woo hoo! My stash just got a little bigger... did my movie collection. Here's something you may not know about me... I'm a movie fanatic. period. Favorite generas: Romantic Comedy, Historical Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Art or History Documentaries. If I like a movie, I can watch it hundreds of times and never get tired of it. My favorite part of any DVD? The extra features - commentaries, "making of" featurettes... yep, I'm a geek. So, how happy was I when I went to the second-hand video/CD shop and saw these boxed sets from "The Lord of the Rings"?? My only disappointment was that they didn't have all three. Oh well, something to keep my eye out for...

I also have a soft spot for hats and snagged this vintage beret...

Finally, I found a loom for making hair pin lace! My friend Kristy has a truly great scarf that her grandmother made. She couldn't figure out how it was done but when I saw it I knew in an instant it was hair pin lace!! It sort of looks like this scarf from a vintage craft book...

Hair pin lace was one of the first crafty things my grandmother ever taught me. Anyway... I found this loom (actually 3 looms) and I think I'll give one to her. Maybe she'll want to give it a try!
Does anyone do hair pin lace anymore??

**post duplicated from my other blog - "Cynthia St. Anne"**

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

Chickadee - photo by Cindy Caraway
"You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee."
- Napoleon Hill

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot

"The quieter you become the more you can hear."
- Ram Dass

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."
- Henry David Thoreau

"Here's what management is about: Pick good people and set the right priorities."
- Lee Iacocca

"Power is like saltwater; the more you drink, the thirstier you get."
- Charles Colson

"We deceive ourselves by the smallness of our surrenders."
- Derek Kinder

"That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
- Albert Einstein

"If things go wrong, don't go with them."
- Roger Babson

"Beware of the person of one book."
- Saint Thomas Aquinas

"If you remember the Sixties, you weren't there."
- Grace Slick

"When you’re on a journey, and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey."
- Karlfried Graf Durckheim

"Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author."
- Jim Rohn

"You can’t spell integrity without the word grit."
- John Maxwell

"It's not the bulls and bears you need to avoid -- it's the bum steers."
- Chuck Hillis

"In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing."
- Antonio Porchia

"I never said most of the things I said."
- Yogi Berra

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Winter Sort and Thrift Store Fashion

A fashionista I am not. Wish I were.... sometimes. My daily uniform consists mainly of an old ratty pair of sweatpants paired with an oversized men's shirt and turtleneck. It's about comfort and, in the winter, warmth. When one decides to work from home there is a danger of becoming like me. What has slowly happened over the past few years is that I virtually have no clothes aside from this scruffy uniform. Panic inevitably sets in any time there is a party or gallery opening because I just don't have cute clothes anymore! I have lots of cute friends with cute clothes and I'm starting to feel like the neighborhood frump.

The other day, as the first snow of the season was falling, I knew it was time to do the winter sort. Assess my warm weather clothes, put the worn-out and/or stained pieces in a bag to go away and carefully fold the keepers into the storage boxes until the thaw. Then comes the joy of pulling the old winter favorites from their hiding place. This is one of my most anticipated activities. You see, I love winter... and turtlenecks... and Pashmina scarves... and wool... and stocking caps. What amazed me as I set these beloved clothes out was how few of them had survived the spring sort.

On this sad day, I came to realize that I had exactly one pair of jeans worth wearing. One pair of jeans?? And exactly 2 winter sweaters - a beautiful Irish wool cable knit and a vintage Dale of Norway - both keepers to the nth degree. A handful of turtlenecks had survived without some sort of spot smack dab in the middle of the chest - but all of those were in some shade of dirt or faded black - you know... beige, tan, some drab grayish-green color, etc. I realized that things just have to change! No more frump girl.

So, I summoned up my courage, took a shower and set off for the local big box thrift shop - aka. Goodwill.

Four hours later (yes... you read that correctly... 4 HOURS!) I emerged victorious having found some very nice pieces: 2 new jackets, 2 turtleneck sweaters, 1 dress, 1 skirt and (yes!) a pair of jeans. I am now looking forward to having someplace special to go so that I can wear them. Fortunately, Mom and I are off to Chicago in a couple weeks to go to the One-of-a-Kind Show and enjoy the holiday lights along Michigan Ave.

These photos don't represent everything I found but you will get the idea, I hope:

First, my new favorite outfit: a cute denim jacket, a lime green silk cable knit turtleneck and a large weave plaid wool skirt! Paired with my black leather boots and black Ultrasuede skirt (both also resale store finds!) this will be a sweet outfit! Finish it off with one of my beadwork necklaces in just the right shades and I will NOT be embarrassed to be seen at the next artsy-fartsy event :)

I also brought home a vintage wool jacket originally from County Seat. Paired with the black turtleneck (and the aforementioned skirt and boots), this goes nicely with my favorite little cap (also a thrift store find!) and fabric flower brooch (my own creation)... or just the brooch if I'm not in a hat mood:

Orange has been one of my favorite colors for a couple of years now. I was very happy to find a pretty orange V-neck sweater that will go nicely under the denim jacket and show off my Aztec Amulet necklace:

Speaking of Orange, as I was unpacking the winter stuff I found a vintage wool jacket that I bought last year and never wore because I'm a big chicken. Well, no more! Next chance I get, I'm wearing this one with head-to-toe black and my Chameleon necklace. Let 'em look (I'm pretty sure they will!):

Finally, just because I love shopping resale (actually, I haven't, except for undergarments, bought new clothing in many, many, MANY years), here are some other thrift store finds from past trips that I will wear ALOT this season -

My boots...

...and my 2 Ultrasuede skirts!

I may have to splurge on some leggings!