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, March 29, 2012

More STITCHED Tutorials Rounding out the Month of March!

We have come to the end of the March tutorial blog hop! So many fun project ideas have been shared along the way and we hope you have learned some crafty new techniques along the way!

Visiting family has prevented me from blogging as often as I had hoped so I have missed posting about the last four. I will make amends here... :)

On March 20th Kelli Nina Perkins offered up these sweet paper flowers. So cute, so easy and super versatile - you'll find lots to add these babies to!

On March 22nd Tracie Lampe showed us how to remake plastic Easter eggs into wonderful, wearables! Her video tutorial is a must see!

On March 27th, our fearless leader and founder of STITCHED 2012, Alma Stoller, showed how she makes cardboard canvasses using upcycled and recycled materials. You'll want to make TONS of these!

And last but not least...
Ann Tucker wraps up the March blog hop with a cute recycled wool pin cushion. This is a great project for adding your own touch and would  make wonderful gifts for your crafty friends! Check out the video tutorial here.

There's still time to take advantage of the great free tutorials from the teachers of STITCHED 2012 - Here's the line up for the entire month!
March 6th: Jackie
March 8th: Mollie
March 13th: Cindy Caraway (that's me!!)
March 15th: Jennifer
March 20th: Kelli
March 22nd: Tracie
March 27th: Alma
March 29th: Ann Tucker

Interested in joining us for STITCHED 2012? You still can!
Classes have been extended to run for the entire year so there's still plenty of time to take advantage of the great fiber and mixed media classes.
Visit this page on my blog for more info!

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the move...

No, we're not moving out of our house, just re-arranging it a bit (which I'm starting to think is harder than changing addresses!). After much discussion, my hubby and I decided that a much larger (and more secluded) work area than the 4' x 8' closet and small corner space in the living room was needed in order for me to grow as an artist and business owner. So, we are moving his music stuff from the basement room to the living room, my "studio" from the living room to the bedroom and the bedroom to the basement. Wow! What a production! But we're making headway, slowly but surely!

The old craft closet was successfully emptied into the living room and most of his music equipment now occupies the closet space. The main job for this afternoon is to get the bed down to the basement... holey moley... :-P

As you can see, not much living can be done in the living room, but it will get better as the days go by! And, yes... believe it or not... all of that stuff completely filling our living room came out of a 4' x 8' closet!! And the couch is temporarily relocated to the kitchen...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Morning Coffee Quotes

Lincoln Park Conservatory - Photo by Cindy Caraway

"The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time."
- Arthur Schopenhauer

"What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also."
- Julius Caesar

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."
- Thomas Jefferson

"The head cannot play the part of the heart for long."
- Fran├žois duc de La Rochefoucauld

"People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty."
- Tim Ferriss

"Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity."
- Frank Leahy

"I know that's a secret, for it's whispered everywhere."
- William Congreve

"We need God, not in order to understand the why, but in order to feel and sustain the ultimate wherefore, to give a meaning to the universe."
- Miguel De Unamuno

"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."
- William James

"There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, which demanded that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same."
- Norman Mailer

"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep."
- Dale Carnegie

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

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart."
- Italian Proverb

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More STITCHED Tutorials

Another tutorial is up for you to take a look at! Jennifer over at Sew Hooked posted this sweet project:
An Oven Mitt!
Check it out on her blog and have fun creating! :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In the works...

Whew! I spent yesterday doing a big hoe-out of my studio (aka. walk-in-closet) and found an oldie but goodie hidden in there! When I first decided to do gallery shows, I found that some of the galleries wanted you to have a "show" - some sort of themed exhibition that all of the exhibited work would fit into. Since I tend to work in a pretty organic manner, the thought of preparing an entire body of work surrounding a theme never entered my mind. So... a couple of years ago I guess I did think about it for just long enough to get a good start on this piece...

My idea was to create several pieces revolving around 3-D geometric shapes and complimentary colors (*notice the orange/blue color thing and the 1/2 sphere shape!*). As you can see, I got a really long way on that one!! :)

Despite the fact that things didn't progress as well in real life as in my mind, I do really like this piece - or what I have of it - so I am going to work on it again and see where it goes. Maybe it will kickstart that series afterall!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Morning Coffee - Stop Corporate Bullies and Eat More Kale!!

Become a backer, too! You'll be glad you did!

My good friend Peter posting a link to a Kickstarter campaign on Facebook and I'm sure glad I visited! Be sure to watch this video and then stop by and make a pledge - as little as $1 will get this guy closer to shutting down some corporate bullies! Oh... and never eat at Chick-fil-a... ever!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Blog Tutorial Hop - My Turn!!

Hi Everybody! Today is my turn to offer up a tutorial for you - Yay! It's pretty easy but can have stunning results depending upon how creative you want to get. I'm going to give you the basic construction steps but leave you to do the decorating as you see fit!

I'm not entirely sure what to call this project - "Fancy Fabric Pendant Thingy" will work for now, I suppose... :)

First, gather your supplies:

You'll need:
A pretty scrap of fabric - almost any kind will work
A small, dark piece of Easy Felt (or other stiffened felt sold in most craft stores)
A small piece of high quality wool (or polyester) felt
A round or oval scrapbook stencil
White colored pencil
A tiny bit of poly-fil
needle and thread

Optional (depending on how you want to dress things up!):
Embroidery floss
Silk Flowers...
... you get the idea!

Start by tracing the stencil outline onto the dark Easy Felt with your white pencil and cut out the felt shape -

Then, using your cut piece as a guide, cut the same shape from the wool felt -

Lay out your fabric and pick a nice spot that will be the front of your pendant. I like to use the leftover Easy Felt as a view finder -

There are a few steps missing here - something was strange with the photos
and they wouldn't upload!!

Once you find the perfect section of fabric, lay the original Easy Felt shape on it and trace a line 1/2" to 3/4" from the edge - this depends a lot on the finished size of the piece. The larger the piece, the more fabric you should leave around the edge. You will end up with a circle or (as in the example) an oval that is equally larger on all sides that the original.

We'll be sewing with doubled thread so thread the needle with a comfortable amount of thread and tie a simple knot about 4" from the doubled ends. Begin sewing on the right side of the fabric and do not secure the thread - let the knot do all the work. Sew a simple running stitch about 3/16" or so from the edge -

Sew until you are completely around, making sure the last stitch ends on the right side of the fabric close to the first stitch. Now start pulling the beginning and ending thread ends and the shape will begin to pucker -

Insert the Easy Felt shape and pull the gathers nice and tight around it -

Keeping the thread tension tight, tie a secure knot and clip the threads -

At this point you can go crazy! Decorate the front with beads, sequins, lace, ribbon... anything you can sew or glue down. Decorate to your heart's content! If you want to make your creation into a pendant - now might be the time to add a short loop of ribbon or maybe a metal ring to use as a bail. Don't worry about the knots or stitches on the back since we'll cover those up in a little while.

Once you are done decorating, use a bit of poly-fil to cover the stitching and gathered fabric edges -

Carefully lay the wool felt on the back and sew the edges together using a simple whip stitch (like I did) or something fancier, if you like!

Here are some shots of my finished sample. It's not very fancy because I didn't decorate it but you can see from the pics how it should look -

Here is example of one I made that I did get fancy with! I used some light blue denim fabric for the base and since I am primarily a bead embroidery artist, I decorated it with beads in spring colors and finished it off with a beaded edging and bail.

I hope you will come up with some wonderful uses for you fabric covered base! I would love to see some of your creations so be sure to let me know if you give this tutorial a try :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

More STITCHED Tutorials and Other Stuff

Wow! I have been so busy - obviously - since I haven't posted anything on my blog in a pretty long time. I have been so absent that I didn't tell you about some new tutorials from teachers of STITCHED 2012! Two new ones - from Jackie and Mollie - were posted on March 6th and March 8th. Mine is due tomorrow (*eek!*) and I will be here to share something cool with you!

So.... Jackie had a great 2-part tutorial - the first part covers printing on fabric with everyday objects and part 2 shows you how to use your new printed fabric and make a "fold book". Here is a teaser pic from her blog to entice you!

On Mollie's blog - Wild Olive - you will find a sweet vintage bunny pin to craft from felt, floss and beads. So cute!!

I hope you will stop by both of these blogs and check out more than just the tutorials. Have a great day! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The latest STITCHED Tutorial from Paula Joerling!

The latest tutorial on the blog hop hosted by STITCHED 2012 teachers is up! Paula Joerling has posted a sweet how-to project with an accompanying image file so you can make these cute Easter egg cups/napkin holders/place cards:

Here's the line up for the rest of the month!
March 6th: Jackie
March 8th: Mollie
March 13th: Cindy Caraway (that's me!!)
March 15th: Jennifer
March 20th: Kelli
March 22nd: Tracie
March 27th: Alma
March 29th: Ann Tucker

Interested in joining us for STITCHED 2012? You still can!
Classes have been extended to run for the entire year so there's still plenty of time to take advantage of the great fiber and mixed media classes. Visit this page on my blog for more info!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Does a picture REALLY paint a thousand words?

Since starting to enter my jewelry into juried art/fine craft shows, I have been thinking a lot about my photos. Having been accepted into several juried gallery exhibits with photos I take myself, I have never doubted that I am, somehow, able to take pretty good pics of my beadwork and fiber creations. Today, though, I focused on the photos in my Etsy shops - particularly CindyCaraway where I sell my beadwork.

I noticed that some of my listings had thumbnail shots that didn't really show the piece very well. For instance, if I had a long shot of a necklace sometimes only the center of the photo would show on my shop page - here's an example:

The full photo of "After Midnight"...
Yes, it's a perfectly nice shot of this piece but when it shows up under my shop listings, it comes out looking like this...
Hardly a good view for showing what the piece really looks like.

So today I went into my shop and changed out first photos for most of my listings to shots like this...
These "collage" style shots allow for the entire necklace with a close-up to be seen as soon as one gets to my main shop page. I like it but I'm wondering what you think. Is this type of photo a good choice for my Etsy shops? Why or why not?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Box Full of Beady Bounty!

Got this box of bead-a-licious goodness in the mail from Fire Mountain the other day! Lots of fresh colors for Spring and Summer - can't wait to dig in...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Some new Beaded Bon Bons

Well, I just received word that I was juried into the first of (I hope!) several fine art and craft shows this season. I will be exhibiting and selling my wares at DubuqueFest over the weekend of May 19th and 20th. I'm pretty excited about doing shows and looking forward to it! Adding to the excitement was the delivery of the pop-up gazebo/tent I ordered. I haven't opened the box yet but it's a heavy sucker (55lbs)! I hope the storage bag has wheels to help with getting around or I'm gonna need to add some...

So, now that the ball has started rolling, I thought I would share some new pieces with you. Knowing that I need to get extra-busy making new inventory for shows, I worked on several new Beaded Bon Bons over the past weekend (you can find a small selection of them at Cynthia St. Anne on Etsy with more to come soon!). They are just so darned cute and super fun to make. Here's an in-progess shot and a couple finished shots, too -

If you like any of these new ones, let me know and I'll reserve them just for you! They'll be posted on Etsy soon, so don't delay :)

Don't know what a Beaded Bon Bon is? Click here to find out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The STITCHED Tutorial Blog Hop is Here! :)

As part of STITCHED 2012 some of the teachers are participating in a Blog Hop.
Now this isn't just any blog hop but it's a tutorial Blog Hop!! Lots of cool how-tos are planned for you all to enjoy and...

...the first one starts today!!

Hand Writing on Fabric
by Deborah Boschert

Here's the line up for the rest of the Month!
March 5th: Paula
March 6th: Jackie
March 8th: Mollie
March 13th: Cindy Caraway (that's me!!)
March 15th: Jennifer
March 20th: Kelli
March 22nd: Tracie
March 27th: Alma
March 29th: Ann Tucker

Interested in joining us for STITCHED 2012? You still can!
Classes have been extended to run for the entire year so there's still plenty of time to take advantage of the great fiber and mixed media classes. Visit this page on my blog for more info!