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, September 24, 2012

Finished my first Art Box :)

Thanks to those of you who offered advice on my first attempts at making some shadow box art! I finally finished it - Yay! I really like it and may offer it for sale on Etsy but I think, for the time being, it will live at my house. Anyway, I don't have a name for it yet - if you have any name ideas, let me know :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Riverssance Art Festival

This past weekend I sold my jewelry at the Riverssance Fine Art Festival in Davenpot, IA. Whew! What a weekend! I had a great time and sent some nice pieces to new homes.

So my days started at 4:45am - I left home each morning to drive to Davenport around 5:45am. I was dreading the drive but the beautiful sunrises changed my mind about that! The morning sky on Saturday was pretty nice...

I got there on Saturday with plenty of time to get ready and was finished with my booth set-up (all by myself, thank you very much!) by 8 minutes past nine (the show started at 10am). Quite pleased with myself for having nearly an hour to spare, I moseyed across the way to talk with another vendor and noticed that my booth looked awful! The way I had set it up made the booth actually appear empty from just across the aisle. I had set everything up along one side wall and if someone was just strolling by, they might not even see my artwork. What luck that I had decided to be sociable that morning!

Anyway, I had time to re-arrange everything and was so happy with the result. I moved the lace backdrop curtains across the back of the booth and set the tables in a shallow "V" so that there was roughly 2 feet of room between the tables and the back wall. I was able to interact with guests from behind my work and hide stuff completely out-of-sight, if needed. Duh. I can't believe I wasn't doing it that way all along! So, here are some shots of the booth AFTER I changed the set-up:

The day went really well - I sold lots, well.... not lots, exactly, but enough to make it a great day in my book! Here's one happy customer wearing her new cuff bracelet - "Brocade".

Sunday started out pretty much the same except the morning sky was even better...
All I can say about this shot is: "Wow! I need to get up early more often!"

Sunday was slower - the second day typically is, IMO - but, again, I made some nice sales and was extremely pleased with the show. I hope they invite me back next year!

*All photos by Cindy Caraway

Monday, September 10, 2012

Going to the Birds!

OK, so some of you may know that I have been thinking a lot about assemblage and mixed media. Not that I don't still love beading but I've really been jonesin' to do something completely different! Finally, today, I decided it was time to go for it and started on my first assemblage art box. I'm not quite Joseph Cornell, but, what the hey...

So I started with an old cigar box and cut the lid off. I decoupaged torn pages from an old dictionary and a Chemical Engineering text book on the inside and around the outside. Next I used some Distressing Ink from Ranger (color: Vintage Photo) and improvised a bit to make it look old and time-worn. Anyway... I sure wish I had stopped to take some in-progress shots if just for my own info!

Then came the fun part of trying to figure out what to put inside! I have finally been using some surfacing treatments I bought years ago (another time when I thought I wanted to do assemblage/altered art! You see, this is a recurring desire...) and painted up a cheapy bird ornament from the thrift store with "Blackened Bronze Metallic" surfacer from Sophisticated Finishes. Again, no before shot, but it turned out pretty nice!

I gathered some white river rocks, shells gleaned from beaches in the Caribbean, twigs from the backyard and a nest (a thrift store find and not a real one... shucks...) and started playing. The twigs were bound together with some tea-stained eyelet lace and found black wire. In front of them is a river rock "cairn". The nest is settled nicely on a beach rock with a white river rock "egg" inside. I didn't like the inside edge of the box showing, so I laid some more twigs along the back and added some shells.

Nothing is permanently attached yet - I may still change my mind about placement and contents but I like it so far. Another thing I'm not sure about is where my little bronze bird should go. I like her perched on top...

...but I also have the idea to have her suspended inside, like she's flying.

If I decide to go with her perched on top, I will definitely need something suspended into the empty space but I have no idea what!

Hmmm.... so what do you think? Let me know - and be nice - this is my first crack at this so don't rain on my parade, OK?

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Dubuque Guitar School

My hubby has just started on a new adventure by creating The Dubuque Guitar School! It's been sort of a whirlwind trying to get everything up and running: building a website, designing print materials, trying to figure out how to advertise... We are, of course, hoping for great success! You can help us by visiting our new website at and looking around. Let us know if links don't go where they're supposed to or if you find any of the content confusing - we'd REALLY appreciate it! Thank you, thank you, in advance :)