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Newest member of the household

It was a beautiful day today so Dan & I took the opportunity to get outside and work in the yard. Our garden is a bit of an overgrown mess but we are leaving it wild for the winter because of the critters that need the plant waste to survive the winters.

A critter I did notice today was this black caterpillar...

She (I decided it's a 'she') was having a grand time munching away on our carrot foliage. Some time investigating led me to believe that this is a Black Swallowtail caterpillar but in a fairly early stage. The plant it was on was very close to where my husband and I were working and I was afraid we might accidentally hurt it so I moved it to another carrot plant, further from harm's way...

This is where she stayed throughout the afternoon as it got cooler and cooler out. Being a bit worried about it surviving the night in 40 degree temps, I did a little more research and found out that it most likely would not survive such cold temps. Well, my only choice was to adopt it!

So, I now have a caterpillar living in a Mason jar on my desk. Tomorrow I will find more suitable accommodations for her as a quart-sized jar will simply not do for very long. Anyway, everything I've read on the internet says how easy it is to raise a caterpillar. I guess I'll find out!


Feeling inspired?

I have been putting together "Inspiration Kits" for a while. They usually start with a vintage tin or other container and then are filled with lace, fabric, trims, beads, buttons, found objects or ephemera in a color palette or theme inspired by the container itself. They are great for gifting! Here are a few that are perfect for stocking stuffers as the containers are quite small. It's easy to put together your own or find these and more at ArtfulLivingOTB on Etsy!







Morning Coffee Quotes

Autumn Sunflowers - photo by Cindy Caraway
“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
— Mary McLeod Bethune

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
— Ronald Reagan

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”
— Max Lucado

“Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength .”
— Eric Hoffer

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“When bright young minds can't afford college, America pays the price.”
— Arthur Ashe

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”
— Denis Waitley

“Under capitalism the more money you have, the easier it is to make money, and the less money you have, the harder. Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. The affluence of the rich supposes the indigence of the many.”
— Adam Smith

“Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.”
— Franz Kafka

“Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant.”
— Yiddish Proverb

“I’ve been here [Washington D.C.] now most of my life and I think that we have become very comfortable with not thinking things through and debating things. I think that we have decided that rather than confront the disagreement and differences of opinion, we’ll just simply annihilate the person who disagrees with us. I don’t think that’s going to work in a republic or a civil society. At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions and undermining our institutions.”
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (commenting on GOP-led Senate refusal to hold confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland)

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
— Howard Thurman

“No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.”
— Booker T. Washington

“We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.”
— Dakotan Proverb

“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
— Flannery O'Connor

“Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.”
— Irish Proverb

“Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.”
— Oscar Wilde

“Truth will lose its credit, if delivered by a person that has none.”
— Bishop Robert South

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.


Cindy's Morning Coffee - Autumn Yard

Autumn Skies
Driftwood on the deck
Milkweed taking flight
Hungry Sparrow
Wooly Bear
Freckles and Ogie - Best Dogs EVER!


On the river

We took what may be our last boat trip of the season last week. We missed alot of time on the river this year. Heavy rains throughout the upper Midwest caused the river to rise and made boating (especially in our little putt-putt boat) dangerous. We weren't sure we'd get out there again but I'm glad we did!

Dark but beautiful skies on the way down river
Fall colors in full swing!
A few treasures found along the bank
Our little putt-putt boat
We call this place "Shantytown" - I would love to live on a boat here someday
The Julien Dubuque bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois
Riverfront - Dubuque, Iowa


The recent past...

In a past life I was an internationally recognized bead embroidery artist. Really, I was! It sounds weird to say that but it actually is true. Search "Cindy Caraway" on Google or Pinterest and you will see LOTS of photos my past work. 

In 2013, when arthritis in my neck affected my right arm, sending shooting pain from the shoulder and down into the hand, and made holding tiny beading needles too painful, I simply quit creating. Luckily, a friend who owns a small, independent book store hired me and I worked a couple days a week while going to physical therapy and trying to get a handle on managing the pain.

What brought me back to creating despite the pain was missing the joy of creating something one-stitch-at-a-time. Making ornate beaded jewelry is no longer something easily done so I started exploring other ways to incorporate fiber, fabric, found objects and beads (of course!) into work that I found satisfying. The needles I use are now larger and no longer is all of my work completely by hand: a trusty sewing machine does come in handy as does glue. I have been exploring different techniques and materials finding that I enjoy soft sculpture and weaving. I have dabbled in assemblage and miniatures but am a little worried about the sheer amount of "stuff" required. We'll have to see about that... In the end, I was able to make a few items for a small, local group exhibit and I was pleased with the results - I even made a couple sales!

Here are just a few photos of what I've been up to lately...




and Mushroom hunting! (I love mushroom hunting...)