Looking for previous content from "Artful Living on the Bluff"? It's still available! Find Vol. 1 at artfullivingonthebluff1.blogspot.com


A few more Freeform Crochet Scrumbles and some tutorials!

Here are a couple more attempts at freeform crochet from yesterday evening. They look more like doilies than scrumbles but maybe I will add some bits around the outside to make them more interesting.

The first starts with a puffy button (tutorial from sheruknitting.com) and then a round of popcorn stitches (tutorial from Crochet Guru). I added a round of double crochet (spacing as needed to keep the round laying flat), a round of single crochet and then a wavy trim which combined popcorn stitches, chain stitches and single crochet (I'm pretty sure I didn't invent this one but I couldn't find a tutorial on it - sorry!).

The second one started with a magic circle (yes, it's actually called a "magic circle"! Here's a nice tutorial on that from Crochet Guru) and then a ruffle (this stitch I learned while following along with the tutorial from sheruknitting.com on YouTube). When watching the video, make sure to keep going so you can learn how to add a framework behind the ruffle. Then you have something to build the next layer on. Next came a layer of double crochet - again, spaced so the round would lie flat. And finally, a granny square sort of trim around the outside using double crochet and chain stitches.

I'm still learning how to change yarn colors. I'd love it if you couldn't pick out where the new color starts. I'll just keep checking out tutorials and books - I'm sure that info is out there! Let me know if you find it, OK?


Some Freeform crochet

After the rush, rush, rush of the holidays, it was nice to settle in on the couch with a hot toddy, "Sleepless in Seattle" and my trusty poodle, Ogie, to try my hand at some freeform crochet. Having done some in the past, I just needed a little refresher course that didn't require too much mental energy on my part. There is a great series of videos on YouTube by sheruknittingcom that I enjoy. She crochets SO FAST it's almost mesmerizing to watch! Luckily, I can pause and rewind as needed.

I picked out one of her freeform scrumble tutorials and followed along (click for part 1 and part 2). It was a nice kick-start.

Here's what I ended up with - not as pretty as hers (really, what did I expect?) but fun none-the-less!

Do you know of anyone who has some great freeform crochet tutorials available online? Please share links in the comments! Cheers :)


Pic of the Day - Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas - photo by Cindy Caraway


Pic of the Day - Beer and Sunshine

Beer and Sunshine - photo taken at Jubeck New World Brewing by Dan Caraway


Actually Making Some Shadow Box Christmas Ornaments

Well, nothin' like waitin' 'til the 11th hour to actually make some Christmas ornaments! The supplies for these have been cluttering up my studio table for, what... a week? No, 10 days! *sheesh*

Finally, I just decided to spend time in my studio MAKING STUFF and to not feel guilty about it. Laundry and dishes will still be there tomorrow, maybe even the next day.

So, this being my first try at this, I think it went OK. Something I have suspected for a while but just couldn't bring myself to admit: I am a hot glue FLUNKIE. For some reason I simply CANNOT get control of hot glue. Maybe I need a better glue gun? Is there no other choice besides one that lets all the hot glue ooze from the tip whether you want it to or not? I think most of the glue ends up on the surface where the gun is resting rather than on the project. What a messy waste of money!! Maybe that's just part of using hot glue, I don't know... If it's not just part of the game, suggestions for a good glue gun will be MUCH appreciated!

So, back to the ornaments... I used one of the Christmas cards I found while out thrift shopping for the background and added gold pipe cleaners and silvery bobs (both found at the dollar store). I added a flat surface by cutting a support from the same card. then, I decorated a bottle brush tree, added some glitter and white plastic "snow" and a small deer. The words "peace and joy" came from the inside of the card (I glittered those up with clear glitter) and added some red rhinestones because I thought it needed a bit more color. I may still add glitter to the front edges and more rhinestones - not sure yet. To the top I added a small loop for hanging.

Like I said, for a first attempt, I'm pretty pleased! I wanted it to feel retro and I think it does. The plan to take in-progress photos sort of fell by the wayside. Once I get going, I forget to stop and take pictures. Here are a few for you plus the (maybe) finished ornament. Enjoy!

Inspiration Kit in Vintage Hershey Tin


Another inspiration kit is available in my Etsy shop. This one is held in a vintage collectible Hershey tin and includes crafty goodies in red, blue and yellow. Visit ArtfulLivingOTB for this and other kits to inspire creativity.

(Click on any photo to go directly to the listing)



Spring themed Inspiration Kit for a COLD day!


I don't know what the weather is where you are but here in Iowa it's COLD!!! 2 degrees Fahrenheit and falling... *brrrrr* So, while I love to have snow and hot chocolate for the holidays, I'm thinking a little dose of Spring might be good right about now.

Here is a new Inspiration Kit to warm you up! Lots of goodies tucked into a collectible Paas tin from 1991. the litho art is by Norman Rockwell. Here are few shots for you to enjoy!

(Click on any photo to be taken directly to the listing)



Even MORE Vintage Christmas Jewelry!


OK... I know... I'm a little behind the ball on this but I have added even MORE cool vintage Christmas-y jewelry to my Etsy shop - ArtfulLivingOTB

See anything you like? Just click on the pic to go to the listing! Happy Holidays! :)



A treasure trove of Vintage Christmas jewelry!


Woo hoo! I finally got some Christmas jewelry posted in my Etsy shop: ArtfulLivingOTB! Get 'em while they're hot!!

Here are some of the beauties to choose from:
(Click on the photo to be taken directly to the listing)


Thrift Store Booty!

I have been pretty busy this holiday season (as, I'm certain, most of you have). I work at a local independent book store which, thankfully, has been incredibly busy with sales and orders so extra hours are on everyone's schedule. I also work as a Production Runner for the local performing arts arena and have had more work than usual which is always good!

This all means that I spend fewer hours in the studio doing the thing I like best - creating! It also means that household stuff gets forgotten about most days. Well, yesterday I finally HAD to go shopping for the necessities like, you know, toilet paper and food. Little things like that... Lucky for me, the grocery stores are in the same part of town as my favorite thrift stores! Yay! Nothing makes going food shopping during the holiday season more pleasant than to stop off at the local charity shops to see what treasures might be hiding there.

Anyway, I scored some really fun Christmas items - some I love just as they are and others I plan to dismantle and salvage the pieces or use in some Christmas themed crafts. It's probably a little too late this year for me to actually sell anything Christmas-y but it will be good practice for next year!

The first are these awesome, wooden reindeer! Obviously vintage or, at the least, inspired by mid-century design. I think I will be adding these to my growing personal collection of vintage Christmas decorations.

Next were these vintage floral picks - not sure what to do with these yet but aren't they cool?

Then I found this wall hanging with brass bells, fabulous millinery stems and chenille cording. These will be dismantled and the pieces added to my stash of stuff to use in the future.

We have a little charity shop which seems to be the only one in town that truly honors craft supplies. They put EVERYTHING out for sale and you get a great deal if you have the patience (and enough money in the parking meter) to dig around for a while. Here are some sweet bits and pieces unearthed yesterday. I love the little trinket dish - so pretty!

And this stack of Christmas cards!! Woo hoo! These are not for sending out - I'm going to use the graphics as inspiration or for backgrounds to other projects.

I also made a quick stop at Dollar Tree. Not only did I discover that they sell Coconut Milk (a staple in our house for those nights when curry is on the dinner menu) but I did pick up a few sparkly supplies along the way.

And, finally, a little something just for me! This scarf is a beautiful shade of orange (my favorite color!) mixed with a purple shade I can only call Mulberry. It's HUGE and square-shaped making it incredibly versatile. I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to wear it soon!

So, that's the booty I picked up for just not very dang much money yesterday. Now, it's time for a quick lunch, a shower and off to work! Have a great day!