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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tikka Masala Earrings.... really!!

Yesterday I told you I made some earrings inspired by my Tikka Masala cuff bracelet but they hadn't turned out quite like I wanted. Today, I made another pair!! Much closer to (nay, exactly) how I had hoped they would look - dangly and bohemian.
Each coral pink cab is nestled in a pretty peyote bezel and features gold chain loops that add wonderful movement to the earrings. If you like these and want the perfect necklace to wear them with - here it is!
No need to ask what became of those too-heavy earrings! They made very pretty pendant necklaces.

These, along with the cuff will be posted to my Etsy shop on Friday but, in the meantime, feel free to contact me if you are interested in any of them.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tikka Masala Earrings

Last night I made some earrings to match my Tikka Masala cuff. I was thinking something big, dangly, bohemian... and made these:

I really liked them except that they weighed a bit too much. Back in the 80's, when my earlobes were more adventurous, I wore lots of heavy, swing-y earrings but I'm just more delicate these days and refuse to submit myself to pain for the sake of fashion! So, I decided these will look quite lovely as Tikka Masala pendants hanging from nice gold chain. And they weren't really boho enough anyway, so earrings are still in the plans...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Re-make and make do

What do you do with projects that just don't sell?? I have several. most of those are large (aka. expensive) gallery pieces that I'm happy to keep around for gallery shows. Not that I wouldn't LOVE to send some of those off to new homes but... anyway...

I have a few pieces that I plan on tearing apart and re-doing. Here are the ones at the top of my "re-make and make do" list:

Here's Lookin' at You
There are things about this piece and matching earrings I adore - the combination of orange and blue and the evil eye theme - but I think it can be more than what it is at present. It was made for a beading challenge and probably rushed a bit to make the deadline. This one deserves a make-over.

Southwestern Cowgirl Steampunk
First off, this one just never got a "real" name and, second, the plethora of beads laying (I hate to say it!) uncomfortably about the neck just will NOT do. I love the concept and the center focal but it's just not working as it is.

This one came about because of a personal challenge I gave myself - you can read about it on my blog here. I found a nice jar of junk jewelry at a thrift shop and decided to see how many new pieces of jewelry I could craft from the beads and goodies in the jar. I did pretty well for a while, finishing half a dozen or so pieces but then decided it was time to move on to something else. I really do like this one but feel it has run its course - time to for this little caterpillar to become a butterfly!

Seaside Wedding
This one has been a favored selection in my shop for some time so some of you will probably wonder why I want to change it. Again, the theme and overall concept are great. I wanted it to look like something you might find washed ashore on a beautiful white sand beach (originally I wanted to call it "All Washed Up" but that wasn't quite romantic enough!). Lately, I have seen this one becoming something a bit fancier. I still hope to keep the organic nature of the piece but... we'll see.

So, I'm not sure when I'll get started on this little project but I'll be sure to keep you in the loop once it gets underway. Let me know what you think about putting earlier pieces "to pieces" and re-making them - I'd love to hear your comments! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tikka Masala - Latest Project

In an earlier post I told you about being invited to design some jewelry using the new line of clasps - "Elegant Elements" - from The Beadsmith. The first clasp was used to make a cuff bracelet called "Brocade". Read more about my "Be Elegant" adventure here.

The second piece - using "Elegant Elements" clasp #CLSP58GP - is now finished! It took me a bit but I really like the final result called "Tikka Masala". My husband and I have a circle of friends that meet for dinner once a week at our favorite (and the only one in Dubuque) Indian Restaurant - Hot & Spicy - and my favorite dish is the Paneer Tikka Masala. My husband thought the cuff looked "Indian" and the red/orange color palette reminded both of us of that tasty curry.

So... here is "Tikka Masala"!

I started in the usual way, by gathering bits and pieces together...
As expected, I don't use all of the components that get pulled but the items keep me focused on the color combo and overall look I want.

I finished the peyote bezels for the cabs...
...and was stuck!

It wasn't until I remembered some UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in my studio that things seemed to click. When I first started working with fiber and fabric, I made this "Harvest Cuff"...
Hoping to make more, I prepared several background pieces but never used them...

These were exactly what I needed! I dug one out that I liked and made a cuff that ended up being a perfect fusion of fiber and beadwork! It was definitely a learning experience and the outcome was so nice that I think I will try to make more pieces that truly incorporate but fiber and beads.

Here are some shots of "Tikka Masala" - I hope you like them!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Morning Coffee - Senior Jitterbug

My hubby and I went out Ballroom Dancing last Sunday evening. We enjoy getting out there even though we don't really know what we're doing most of the time! We get lots of "polite" smiles from people who I'm sure would rather we sit down (too bad for them!!)

The type of dancing we'd REALLY like to do is the Jitterbug. We've got a LOOOONG way to go to even dream of keeping up with these folks! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Morning Coffee - Harpo plays the harp

This one certainly made me smile! As my husband stated, "Look what people were able to do in the days before the internet!". I think he's correct in thinking that the internet and television suck a terrible amount of our creative energies away. Something to think about... what could you accomplish if you weren't reading this blog, for example. What could I accomplish if I weren't writing it?? Hmmm....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Morning Coffee Quotes for a New Year

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
- Carl Jung

"Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them."
- Rabindranath Tagore

"The secret of success is constancy of purpose."
- Benjamin Disraeli

"There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality."
- Seneca

"Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes, is oft but perseverance in disguise."
- Henry Willard Austin

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"You can either take action, or you can hang back and hope for a miracle. Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable."
- Peter Drucker

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."
- Aldous Huxley

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die."
- G. K. Chesterton

"Things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
- Abraham Lincoln