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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

"Failure is not the worst outcome, mediocrity is."
- Dharmesh Shah

"It's always too soon to quit."
- Norman Vincent Peale

"Man, like the bridge, was designed to carry the load of the moment, not the combined weight of a year at once."
- William A. Ward

"The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."
- H. L. Mencken

"People don't get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don't know each other. They don't know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."
- Albert Einstein

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
- H. Jackson Browne

"Somebody left the cork out of my lunch."
- W. C. Fields

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
- William James

"It is unfortunate we can't buy many business executives for what they are worth and sell them for what they think they are worth."
- Malcolm Forbes

"Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value."
- Bertrand Russell

"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."
- James Madison

"Learning from experience is a faculty almost never practiced."
- Barbara W. Tuchman

"There is a meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing."
- Alexander Woollcott

"A man or woman can hear all the right things, say the right things, attend church and still be 18 inches away from heaven—the distance between the head and the heart."
- Boyd Bailey, Wisdom Hunters

"The fellow who says he'll meet you halfway usually thinks he's standing on the dividing line."
- Orlando A. Battista

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sneak Peek of a New Project

The light is very blue today - it was hard to get a good photo of something white. Sorry for the heavily altered photo but the original shots were a strange shade of turquoise!! This is a little teaser shot of a new project - my first 3-D fiber creation. Stay tuned for more! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sunshine Daisy Wall Hanging

I finally finished this happy wall-hanging! Named "Sunshine Daisy" for the sunny flower fashioned from vintage pom pom trim and lace with a Lucite button center. It measures just 4 1/2" square and is nicely finished in reclaimed linen. Underneath the date and signature is a small fiber collage.

Morning Coffee - "The Little House"

I am a fan of little, old houses. There are several in Dubuque that I pass by nearly every time I go out. Some are loved and others not so loved. But every one of those houses was someone's pride and joy when it was built. At least, that's what I imagine. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't check the real estate listings - there's almost always some little house for sale for what seems like nothing. It needs lots of work and TLC and I always feel a little sad that it doesn't have someone to love it and feel proud to live there. Anyway, this sweet Walt Disney cartoon touched on all those feelings. I hope you will enjoy it with your morning coffee.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunshine Yellow

I have been working on a piece in yellow and am enjoying working with such a happy color (especially since the weather is getting me down!!). Here's the work so far - it should be finished today unless I decide to clean house. Hmmm.... clean the house?.... or finish this little wall hanging?... tough choice :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Morning Coffee Quotes

Storm Clouds (photo taken by Cindy Caraway)

"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."
- Benjamin Franklin

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."
- C. S. Lewis

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."
- James Goldsmith

"It is tact that is golden, not silence."
- Samuel Butler

"Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust."
- Zig Ziglar

"I just downloaded eleven hundred books onto my Kindle, and now I can’t lift it."
- Steve Martin

"It came to me that reform should begin at home, and since that day I have not had time to remake the world."
- Will Durant

"On every summit, you are on the brink of an abyss."
- Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

"True friendship isn't about being there when it's convenient; it's about being there when it's not."
- Unknown

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully."
- Steve Jobs

"A bargain is something you can't use at a price you can't resist."
- Franklin P. Jones

"In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later."
- Harold Geneen

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

"I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."
- Abraham Lincoln

"Every man should have a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends."
- Henry Brooks Adams

"The job is to ask questions-it always was-and to ask them as inexorably as I can. And to face the absence of precise answers with a certain humility."
- Arthur Miller

"To eat well in England, you should have a breakfast three times a day."
- W. Somerset Maugham

"If you can’t have faith in what is held up to you for faith, you must find things to believe in yourself, for a life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live."
- George E. Woodberry

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares."
- Henri Nouwen

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lost... and still not found!

As some of you might remember, I held my own private art retreat last October when my hubby was gone for a guitar conference. I made some really cool faces using molds and air-dry polymer clay...

But now I have a mystery on my hands... I can't find these little devils ANYWHERE!! I recently cleaned out my studio and can honestly say that I personally touched every single thing in there and I did NOT see these guys. I've been looking for them for over an hour now and... nada. Did they sprout legs and wander off??

Sky Blue

Here is a look at my first piece of fiber art home decor! I just finished it this afternoon and really liked how it turned out. I used a small ring for the hanger and, even though the hanger is off-center, the piece hangs perfectly balanced. I'm planning on doing other monochromatic studies and hope my skills at fiber manipulation improve during the process.

This piece is available for purchase on Etsy - I hope you like these final photos.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chicago Trip - Part 3

Whew! Those cupcakes were sure good! Thankfully, our hotel was MANY blocks walk away so we could feel better about all those oh-so-delicious calories :)

No trip to the north end of Michigan Ave. would be complete without a stop into the Fourth Presbyterian Church. Those who know me well know that I am not religious by any means but I love me a big ol' church. Give me a city full of steeples and I'm a happy hiker! This one is a beauty (please forgive me for the stock photo!).
In the side lawn was a remembrance of children who suffer from abuse - one blue ribbon for every child. There were, sadly, WAY too many ribbons but they were a sight to look at.
Inside is so beautiful! There's simply no way to capture all the wonderful details but you can get a better look by visiting their website at to see all the details.

And finally, a window-shopping trip down Oak Street - it's sort of Chicago's Rodeo Drive full of high end shops like Jimmy Choo and Prada. We only ventured into one store - Hermes - to look at scarves. They were not marked with any prices and we didn't ask. If you have to ask, you can't afford it!! :)

We did stop into Urban Outfitters on Rush St. and I was pleased to see this sweet outfit...
I love it when stuff I used to wear comes back in style!! Yay! I'm definitely going to Goodwill and buy my stuff back - right down to the little 80's throw-back boots! This is my new (and old) summer uniform.

Well, thanks for taking a little trip with me around Chicago. Nothing left now but to treat you to a few pretty shots from the trek back to the hotel. We were finally treated to beautiful, clear skies! I hope you like them! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicago Trip - Part 2

Well, after a hearty lunch at Subway (hey, it was close and affordable!) we waited for the trolley across the street from the Art Institute.
This is about as good a shot as I've ever gotten of this impressive building! We didn't go in because to truly enjoy the Art Institute you need at least a full day if not two and we didn't have that kind of time. Again, something to look forward to... :)

This time we were picked up by a double decker bus and, being the intrepid travelers we are, sat up top. Our tour guide this trip was named Mark (I usually don't immortalize tour guides in my blog but he was really good).
We enjoyed our long ride to Navy Pier (where we decided NOT to disembark because the crowds were insane!)...

The skies had started to clear and we were treated to some great views as we headed downtown...

We finished our circuit where we started, at Watertower Plaza. 
Needing a snack, we then went across to the Hershey chocolate shop and bought some delicious cupcakes!! Here's mine...
And here's me devouring it!!
After our REALLY healthy snack, we were ready to head back to the hotel... but not before a couple more stops!

Check back for more tomorrow :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Night out on the Range

Here is an update on the commission I told you about earlier. I have refined the group a bit - opting for a darker palette and dropping the gold, rust and tan colors (they just didn't mix well with the silvery gray of the cabochon). I made a kumihimo cord which I hope resembles a mecate rope and a horse-riding friend of mine has supplied me with some horsehair for (maybe) some tassels. We'll see... I've never made tassels out of horsehair before...
Sorry for the grainy photos - low light. Anyway, I hope you like it so far :)

Chicago Trip - Project Onward

Even though I said it was lunch time when we stopped off yesterday - I have to re-wind a bit and tell you about another amazing discovery at The Chicago Cultural Center called "Project Onward". I lifted this little blurb from the website:

Project Onward supports the creative growth of visual artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Project Onward provides studio space, art supplies, and professional guidance to emerging artists in a communal workshop environment. 


They have the coolest little gallery shop and studio space ever! I'm very happy to share it with you. I truly adored just about every piece of artwork I saw but, of course, had some favorites. Please be sure to visit the artist page on the "Project Onward" website and check them all out.

 Love this outfit by Jamin Jaddua!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Look what I won!

With the excitement of going to Chicago, I completely forgot to tell you about a sweet give-away I won! Lilla of JustLilla makes the loveliest of fiber creations - many of which I have been coveting. There have been a few items of hers that she had announced on her blog as being for sale in her Etsy shop and by the time I get there, they're already sold! Oh, how I wanted this sweet Gypsy patch for my very own and, lo and behold, she's mine!!Thank you, Lilla - you made this girl very happy :)

Chicago Trip - Part 1

Every once in a while my Mom and I get a hankering to go to The Windy City and hang out for a few days. We went this past weekend and had a great time! Most of our fun is planning what we want to eat next, typically deciding on lunch while we're eating breakfast and making dinner plans while eating lunch all the while knowing there will be some impromptu snacking in the meantime!

OK, we also do some other stuff while we're there, too! Usually we have tickets for a few shows but this time we went with no particular plans what-so-ever. Not knowing what we wanted to do and, after having checked several "What to do on your visit" types of sites and finding nothing intriguing, we decided to sign up for a sightseeing trolley ride. It was one of those "hop on, hop off" trips. We had taken something like it once in Philadelphia and really liked it - this one was no different. It really was a very nice and incredibly convenient way to see the city. We even discovered some new things, which is always a bonus.

So here's a run down of our near-perfect Saturday in Chicago:
First, we got some Dunkin' Donuts coffee and set down Michigan Avenue to meet the trolley at Watertower plaza. It was a hazy morning and you couldn't see the tops of any of the buildings - the clouds were very low. 
We caught the trolley and headed off!
We toodled around town, going past some our favorite places, like Fado (the best place for a Black & Tan!)
Here's a great shot of one of the ornate clocks on Marshall Field & Co (now Macy's) - so cool...
The first stop we hopped off at was Millennium Park to see Frank Gehry's fantastic amphitheater and "The Bean":
Then we went across Michigan Avenue to one of our favorite places in the city: The Chicago Cultural Center. This building, built in 1897, was originally the Public Library. It is so beautiful inside and out and filled, litterally, with fabulous mosaics and the world's largest Tiffany Glass Dome. There is another stained glass dome here, too, but we couldn't get in to see it this trip - that will just give us something to look forward to next time! The most wonderful artwork you can see and it's FREE!! Don't miss The Chicago Cultural Center the next time you're in town. Here are my shots of the stairwell leading up to and including the dome (as an added note - all of the fancy stuff on the walls are mosaics!! No... really!) :

Here's a little video of the dome, too!

A view of Millennium Park from the Cultural Center.

Time for lunch! :)
Check back for more of our trip tomorrow!