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, April 26, 2012

Navigating Murky Waters

When I am asked what I enjoy reading, my typical answer is, "Anything with pictures!"

First off, I "read" lots of magazines, home decor and craft books rarely ever taking in the text unless a pretty picture catches my fancy. Second - I like non-fiction. My bedside table usually has something like "Drive" by Daniel Pink or "The Social Animal" by David Brooks (see his entertaining TED talk on the same subject by clicking here) - or something having to do with creative entrepreneurship like "The Right-Brain Business Plan" by Jennifer Lee or "The Creative Entrepreneur" by Lisa Sonora Beam. As for fiction: it's either Shakespeare or Jane Austen ("Persuasion" is, by far, my favorite!) and I can only read those while speaking softly to myself in a British accent. :)

Well, this brings me to the book I'm presently loving - "The Zen of Social Media Marketing" by Shama Hyder Kabani. The reason I am loving this book is because Shama approaches Social Media like no other business guru I've read. I am only into the third chapter and am already feeling like I can maybe handle this social media stuff because I really don't "get" it. It's not the way I like to interact with friends and (since I'm trying to also market my artwork) potential customers. Facebook, for example, is a big mysterious mix of everything from weird everyday flotsam (aka. "I'm watching Glee right now!!" or "I just had corn flakes for breakfast" sorts of stuff) to the sharing of big ideas that might actually change the world. I find it completely perplexing and am striving to change that. I hope Shama can help me navigate the murky waters.

And, just so you know, I don't know Shama except from her website and the pages of this book. I am not being paid to give her the thumbs-up. I haven't even bought the book (although I might!) - I got this copy from the local library - but I hope you might check it out, anyway. How do you find your way through the Social Media maze? I would love to hear your thoughts - leave a comment and let me know :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Excited... but tired...

Most of the afternoon and evening were spent on the red and black cuff bracelet. I had hopes of finishing it but it's getting late and I'm feeling the need to go horizontal and get some shut-eye! I'm crossing my fingers that tomorrow this baby will be finished (and some better pics taken!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Intergalactic Travel to the Stars!

That's what I think of when I see "Cosmic Renegade"! This statement jewelry piece is a stellar combination of reclaimed fabrics, antique lace, vintage jewelry components and lots of beads, both big and small.

This necklace is lightweight and super comfortable to wear. It is beautifully backed with reclaimed suede leather and finished off with gunmetal chain and a lobster clasp so it can be ultimately adjustable - just clasp it wherever you need to for the perfect fit. It also comes with a pair of matching dangle earrings.

Read the whole story behind this piece right here on my blog at
and find "Cosmic Renegade" for sale on Etsy at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finished? I need your help!

Well, I think "Cosmic Renegade" might be finished. I say "I think..." because my original idea was to add beaded fringe to this piece but I'm just not sure about that. What do you think??

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Almost there...

"Cosmic Renegade" is nearly there! The beading is finished and she's glued down on the leather backing. Hopefully today I'll get the edging done... Cross your fingers!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Project, Sneak peek...

Before I set off to our super wonderful farmer's market (*please let there be kale, please let there be kale, please let there be KALE!!*), I thought I would share some shots of a new piece, or rather, an old piece that I am re-making.

A while back, I posted about wanting to re-do several beaded pieces and make them anew. One is already finished and I am deep into the redesign of another. Needing to take a break from Hemisphere for a bit while I search our more shiny orange beads, I took on this Steampunk Cowgirl monstrosity and put it to pieces.

What was I thinking?? It was big and bulky and hard to wear... but, IMO, still had some merit in the component choices and the colors. So... to pieces it went!

Now I am in the middle of the new project and pleased and surprised with how it's turning out! When I started, I still wanted it to be sort of steampunk-y and cowgirl-ish but somehow it has morphed into something more akin to "cosmic renegade". It looks more space-y and grunge-y than the picture I had in my mind. When it started going in that direction, I just went with it to see where it would take me and I'm certainly enjoying the ride. I hope you like these pics - let me know what you think! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Morning Coffee - St. Luke's Bottle Band (What a hoot!)

You have GOT to see this great video! I laughed out loud! I wanna start a bottle band in Dubuque...

Monday, April 9, 2012


In an earlier post I showed a piece that I had started work on a LOOOONG time ago and recently "found" while doing "The Big Move" (more about that one soon!). Inspired to continue with it and finding myself with a few stray moments to work on it, I can offer up these shots of the work in-progess...

Because of the shape of the components and the swirly, spacey design of the bead embroidery, the name of this piece will be "Hemisphere". With the little hemispheres almost finished some fantastical ideas have started brewing about what the finished piece will look like. I will DEFINITELY need lots more Galvanized Orange seed beads (#486) to bring that vision to life! I knew I should've bought more of those....

I would love to hear what you think - leave a comment to let me know! :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Morning Coffee Quotes - Marriage Rocks!

Photo by Cindy Caraway
"Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart."
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without."
- James C. Dobson

"A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences."
- Dave Meurer

"No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying."
- Unknown

"There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps."
- Ronald Reagan

"To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you're wrong, admit it; whenever you're right, shut up."
- Ogden Nash

"A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers."
- Ruth Bell Graham

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
- I Corinthians 13:7

"Success in marriage does not come merely through FINDING the right mate, but through BEING the right mate."
- Barnett Brickner

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness."
- Kahlil Gibran

"You can't be right and married at the same time. If you're trying to be right and prove your partner wrong, you've stepped outside the marriage."
- Frank Pittman

"The first duty of love is to listen."
- Paul Tillich

"Marriage has some thorns, but celibacy has no roses."
- Vernon McLellan

"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse predict an ailing marriage: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. The worst of these is contempt."
- John Gottman

"He who finds a wife finds what is good."
- Proverbs 18:22

"When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Commitment is making a choice to give up other choices."
- Scott Stanley

"My heart is ever at your service."
- William Shakespeare

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On the move... Update :)

Well, I am deep into "The Big Move" (as it has come to be called at our house). Things may seem to be taking a long time but since I posted about the moving process way back on March 19th, my sweet hubby and I took a little 9-day trip out East to visit friends and family. So, seeing as we got back late on April Fool's Day, I think things are coming along pretty well! Needless to say, I am exhausted! I have aches where I had forgotten I even had muscles! OK.... enough whining already...

Being the slightly anal, control-freak Scorpio that I am, I downloaded a nice little app that would allow me to "virtually" move furniture around before any heavy lifting was involved. Let me just say, that particular tactic (in this case, at least) was a big ol' waste of time. This is how it typically went... I would move one of the big pieces of furniture into the room, load it up with stuff, decide I didn't really like it there after all, unload the stuff and move it to another spot. This big work bench thingy you see in the corner...
...has been relocated no less than 4 times! (*what a pain* and, no, I am not planning on using that door again anytime soon) Well, happily it has found it's permanent home - but the wall unit to the left of it? Yep... you guessed it.... moving someplace else...

Needing a break (and a glass of wine!), I though I would share some shots of the space in-progress. Please excuse the mess... I am really excited about this new space and, despite the aches and splinters, having a great time getting it organized.

This corner will be for relaxing and reading. I love this comfy wing chair :)

This wall unit and dresser hold fiber/craft supplies and some vintage treasures destined for my vintage shop on Etsy.

I just bought this table today at my favorite thrift store. A table will allow me to do larger projects, get out the sewing machine every once in a while and maybe (hopefully!) teach some classes. I know it doesn't look like much but that makes it the perfect crafting table! No one will care if paint gets spilled or a nick is left by an Exacto blade. It's the perfect size for the space (4' in diameter) and it was super cheap! Can't beat that...

More pics of the finished space tomorrow (*cross your fingers*)! Thanks for stopping by :)