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

Friday, August 30, 2013

Baby Bunnies in our Yard

This morning, while going outside to enjoy what little bit of cool air we were going to get all day, my hubby nearly stepped on a tiny, baby bunny. He was so cute and looked so helpless... I went in and did a Google search on "tiny baby rabbit in yard what to do" and found out that rabbits leave the care of their mother and protection of the nest in as few as 7-10 days and are on their own from there. As long as their eyes are open, they are mature enough to care for themselves. Amazing!

The first one we found, I relocated to the raspberry bushes because it was out in the middle of the yard and I was afraid for it. The next one we found was next to the nest, which held 2 other youngsters that hadn't yet ventured out. We decided to let nature take it's course and let them be (but keep a close eye on our footfalls for a while!).

Here's some shots of one of the little cuties from today. Enjoy :)

Wish him luck - he's taking his first steps into the world!
Two more in the nest

Monday, August 26, 2013

Morning Coffee Quotes

Garden Visitor (Photo by Cindy Caraway)

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn."
- Tom Landry

"What doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?"
- Matthew 16:26

"People should always have something which they prefer to life."
- Johann G. Seume

"Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it."
- Rene Descartes

"A civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided for them."
- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

"Misfortunes one can endure--they come from outside, they are accidents. But to suffer for one's own faults--ah!--there is the sting of life."
- Oscar Wilde

"Whereas the Greeks gave to will the boundaries of reason, we have come to put the will's impulse in the very center of reason, which has, as a result, become deadly."
- Albert Camus

"You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance."
- Kahlil Gibran

"Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us."
- Eric Hoffer

"Lying and stealing are next door neighbors."
- Arabian Proverb

"Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer

"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience."
- John Updike

"In nine times out of ten, the slanderous tongue belongs to a disappointed person."
- George Bancroft

"A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt."
- Gilbert K. Chesterton

"The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity."
- Thomas Peters

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jubeck New World Brewery (aka. My Hubby the Businessman!)

My husband and his good friend Jay have a lot in common: they are both pilots, like to bake bread, smoke pipes, play guitar, both play in the fabulous rockabilly band "The Fast Clydes", both are married to fantastic women (I just had to throw that one in!)... and they love to brew beer.

Dan and Jay with their new landlord, Ken, at the lease-signing
Long story short: an idea that germinated for a long time resulted in a successful Kickstarter campaign (over $37,000.00 raised!) and after lots of work, research, meetings with lawyers/inspectors/you name it, they have a lease signed! Jubeck New World Brewery is going to be located at 115 W. 11th St in Dubuque, IA! Good luck, guys! What an adventure this is going to be!

Here's their Kickstarter video:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Art Trades and More Beads!

This past weekend I was a vendor at a small arts festival in Bellevue, IA called the "Fishtival". Bellevue is a lovely little town nicely situated on the Mississippi River - the weather couldn't have been more perfect, the view more delightful or the crowds more appreciative! I also met some great artists/makers while there... one was Jill, a gal who, among other talents, made really cool fishing lures using her beautiful polymer clay beads. While talking to her about how I wanted to buy a couple of her lures and use the beads in one of my woven pieces, we struck a deal... I mentioned that I enjoy doing art trades and she instantly picked out a cuff she liked...
Grey Poupon Fabric Cuff Bracelet

In exchange I got this wonderful collection of her handmade polymer beads! What fabulous colors - it will be fun to use these in some new projects - I'm especially in love with the red and turquoise ones!

Thank you, Jill! I hope you enjoy your cuff :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yummy Lunch

My favorite lunches consist of what I call "the perfect plate" - a little bit of this, a little bit of that... Sometimes I'm so in love with these lunches that I simply need to take a photo of them. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while have most likely seen these types of pics in the past. It's probably silly, but... oh well!

This perfect plate consisted of smoked catfish from the neighborhood deli, Green Doc tomatoes from our garden, Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, Kalamata olives, a handful of walnuts and wheat Ritz crackers (not my first choice in crackers but it's what we had on hand!). Combine that with 1/2 a bottle of my hubby's homebrew and it's the finest lunch around! Yum.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Right Place, Right Time

Tuesday is my "run-around day" - the day I visit my favorite coffee shop, the library, the local thrift shops and do some needed grocery shopping. Some weeks I add Friday as an extra "run-around day" just so I can hit some garage sales, too. Sometimes during those "run-around days" I just feel like I'm in the right place at the right time and that was me yesterday.

Late in the afternoon I stopped at one of my regular thrift shops and found a treasure trove of African trade beads among other things! Some were hanging up with the necklaces and other jewelry and some were in a big bag of "junk" - a gallon zip lock baggie stuffed full of bits and bobs, tangled jewelry, odd earrings, etc - you just never know what you might find in it.

Well, here's a peek at the lovely beads I picked up for a proverbial "song"...

In photos you will see some big-and-beautiful bone beads from Kenya, small glass trade beads, Kofi beads (the red plastic disc beads), silver metal Ethiopian prayer beads, some nice hammered brass beads and some very old Venitian millefiori trade beads. Ooooh, you can probably guess that I was dancing all the way to the car - so happy that they didn't know what they had!! (Geez, I hope they don't read my blog!)

Such pretty beads! I have no idea what I'm going to use them for. For now, I'm just happy looking at them :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

My New Sketch Box Easel!!

When doing my weavings, I was usually trying to balance my work on my lap, which was getting very uncomfortable. One day while browsing around online I saw a weaver using a floor easel that held the frame loom and I thought, "Duh, of course..."

I wanted a floor loom that could easily be folded up and had a nifty little drawer for storing goodies and supplies. My research told me that what I most wanted was a "Sketch Box Floor Loom". My research also told me that they could be very expensive.

So, I started searching Craigs List and eBay and found several in the $75-and-up range but that was still a bit too rich for my budget. Finally I found an auction on eBay and, miracle of miracles, I won!!

I haven't taken any pics of the easel myself but I'll share some shots from the auction listing with you. It's so pretty and arrived in wonderful condition - I couldn't be happier! :)

All folded up and ready to travel!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On its way!

The necklace I have been working on in shades of teal, orange and purple with black and white stripes is coming together nicely! The weaving on the main body is complete - now it's on to the fringe and straps! :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A new piece in a modern color palette

I'm getting ready to sell my wares at a local art fair this coming weekend. I want to have as many needlewoven pieces finished and ready for sale as possible! I have never been one for trends but, every once-in-a-while I check out different clothing/jewelry retailer websites to see if I can pick out what's hot in the coming season.

When I checked this past week, it was clear to me that teal, coral (sometimes verging on orange), purple (ranging from lavender to aubergine) and horizontal stripes in black and white were showing up everywhere. So, I decided to make a piece using all of those things! Here is a little look at the progress... but just a peek!


Monday, August 12, 2013

A new direction...

I am a jewelry maker - a crafter, artisan, artist. I have been called all of these things but I prefer "artisan" (which is a skilled practitioner of a craft who makes items that are functional and/or decorative). Even though I have tried my hand at a few different things - assemblage, collage, mixed media - I always come back to jewelry. So, I am an artisan who makes jewelry.

My jewelry-making (and selling!) started out with black wire way back in the late 80s. I added beads to the wire in the early 90s and ultimately dropped the wire and kept the beads in the mid 90s. Through the years the beads got smaller and smaller and I became a beadweaver/embroiderer somewhere around the late 90s/early 2000s. By 2005 I had some gallery showings, was beginning to get published and had gained some recognition as a bead artist.

Now in the 2010s, I am still a jewelry artisan but my focus has been a bit blurry over the last couple of years. I still love beads but my interest has waned a bit. I have dabbled in making jewelry from upcycled bits and found objects, fashioning statement pieces from fabric and fiber and now I am totally enamored with weaving - needleweaving, to be exact.

Needleweaving, sometimes called pin weaving, seems a natural progression for me. It still utilizes needles, thread and beads - the materials with which I feel most comfortable. I love detail and this technique certainly lends itself to detail. I love color, want lots of color choices and fiber comes in every color (and texture!) imaginable. I also like portable and it's beautifully portable! The pieces I have finished harken back to my early love of African and Native American jewelry and the Bohemian feel of them just makes me happy!

I'll talk more about the technique in future posts as I share pieces I'm working on. In the meantime, here is just a taste of some of the finished pieces. I hope you like them :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hello, again, hello...

No reason for this photo except it's pretty, I took it and it makes me happy :)

Well, I know it might sound weird but I have not blogged, Facebook-ed, tweeted or any of that "social media" stuff for a couple of months now* and I can't tell you how good it feels. Probably not the best way to start a blog post, I know, but it's the truth and I need your help.

I like blogging, and plan to do it again with more frequency, but other social media is a mystery to me. They (whoever "they" are) say if you are an artist, maker, entrepreneur you need to be on it, promoting yourself and others, sharing content, "liking" and consuming, forming virtual bonds with your fellows everyplace you possibly can.

Having checked out nearly every book on social media marketing from the local library and having read too many blog posts that give advice on how to handle the varied outlets, I still can't get my head around it.
"Create a game plan and stick to it!", they say
I say, "Give me a flowchart! Can I have a flowchart, please?"
"Share meaningful and informative content!" they say
I ask, "What IS that, exactly!?"

More than once I have found sites that list the number of hours per week that should be spent on social media (for promotional purposes, anyway) to be 20.... TWENTY HOURS SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA?? A WEEK?? Who are "they" kidding? I don't have a marketing department or a social media specialist on my staff. I am my staff! *sheesh* Note that this total doesn't include blogging, which is time-consuming in and of itself but more rewarding, IMO.

Anyway... I'm simply befuddled by it all and it stresses me out. Even as a "social" user of social media, it stresses me out. While it's nice when a beloved but long-lost friend finds you and you can re-connect, it's also a bit creepy when some stalker ex-boyfriend finds you, too, which is why I keep my privacy settings pretty high on my personal Facebook profile. I like living in the real world, having interactions with real people over a nice (cheap, but nice) bottle of wine or cup of coffee but we also still have a phone that is connected to the wall at our house. It's all SO last century...

So, I'm not sure what I want to come from this little tirade except that maybe some of you who are one-person makers and/or entrepreneurs can offer me some advice. How do you utilize social media in a way that's meaningful? How do you budget your time and what outlets have worked best for you? Anyone out there have a social media flowchart? I'd love to see it! :)

*DISCLAIMER: I have been on Facebook during this short hiatus, but only in a truly social way - keeping up with close friends and local events.