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25 September 2012

Toast of the Town


Today I am delighted to reveal a special project that I was asked to work on.

Back on August 1st I was approached to create a piece of jewelry using beads and findings from Michaels for their October Jewelry Celebration month. The promotion is called "Made by Me, Inspired by Life" and features 21 designers, bloggers and well-known DIYers. I am thrilled that I have this opportunity to be among the designers hand selected for this Michaels.com jewelry celebration. Apparently through their online channels (website, Facebook, blogs and Twitter) they reach an audience of 8 million people. Zoinks! Who wouldn't jump at that chance? I am very thrilled to be a part of this group, some very well known to me and some new to me. I find it hard to believe that I am hanging with the likes of Fernando Dasilva who is an author and Swarovski Ambassador, and Erica Domesek of the popular blog P.S. I Made This fame. I hope you will come over to Michaels.com and see all the beautiful pieces of jewelry that were made by these very talented people.

Because I joined in at the last minute on this, they gave me a few extra days to complete this piece. But I still had to have it shipped by the following Friday. I was so inspired that I completed it in two days. But as we tell our kids, when you get done with your test, take that time to go back over it and make sure that it is complete. So that is what I did.

I was basically given carte blanche to design whatever I wanted. And since I do design work for Halcraft of the Bead Gallery line, I chose to stay within those products. But if you know me at all, you know I need an inspiration to get started. An image, a song, a poem... something that will get my creativity loosened up. So I struck out for Michaels with my smartphone attuned to Design-Seeds.com to see what I could find to inspire me.

{Toasting Tones from Design Seeds}
Since this is a celebration, I thought of champagne and found the perfect picture to accompany my design. This palette from Jessica Colaluca of Design Seeds features classy gray, rich gold and creamy pearl tones.

My very favorite new bead in the Bead Gallery line at Michaels has to be these champagne colored glass coin pearls. They look so much like the real thing because of their irregular surface and their shimmering color. Every time I go into Michaels I buy whatever strands of them I can find. I don't even care if I get them on sale or have to pay full price. Yes, I love them that much. (Sorry, if you shop the Plover, WI store for the lack of them as I own all those strands! ;-) And note to Halcraft... I would buy them in every single color under the heavens if you offered them. Just sayin'...

I also found some pretty shell beads in cream and grays as well as some embossed silver plated lentils and spacers.


For this necklace design I wanted to go lush so that meant it had to be multi-strand. I came up with a design that is two 42" strands but it is really broken into four 21" lengths. You can see here that I did a sort of pattern on each strand that repeats colors and textures, yet each strand - and each section on each strand -  is completely different.


For this design to work, you need to have a ring that all the strands can fit through. And some sort of closure on the opposite side. A toggle bar or a hook will work equally well.


The ring must be free to move around, so there really isn't anything attached to it, just running through the center. That little trick allows this necklace can be worn multiple ways. That is something very important to me, to be multi-faceted. My jewelry has to be as well.


This necklace can be worn torsade style, twisted tightly with the pretty clasp in the front, behind or even off to the side.


It can also be worn long, with whatever part you want in front and the ring off to the side. The toggle bar or hook just sort of blends into the beads and you can even adjust the strands for multiple lengths. In fact, I have found at least 7 different ways to wear this necklace and that makes me very happy!

{Toast of the Town necklace designed for Michaels.com}
My favorite way to wear it is untwisted and loose so that each strand can be pulled through at a different length. This is one of the most versatile pieces of jewelry that I have ever designed and for that reason alone I wish that I hadn't had to relinquish this necklace to Michaels as I am unlikely to get it back. This Toast of the Town necklace is versatile, classy and trendy. It makes a statement and would be just as at home in a business suit or on the dancefloor with that perfect little black dress or even jeans and a t-shirt. You can click the link above to go right to the instructions. If you make one of your own, please share it with me! (And you can even leave a review on the Michaels.com website as well!)

I have to tell you a secret... I loved this soooooo much... that I almost didn't send it! I got so inspired and created this so very quickly (another way that I know my vision is a good one!) that I still had about 5 days left to send it to Michaels and I almost - ALMOST - went back and came up with a different design. Ultimately, I decided that it was meant to be on this website for all the world to see, not stuck in only my jewelry box. But I will be making more like it... and pushing the limits of what can be done with this form.

The following weekend after I made this, I had to attend a wedding of my friend Kelly (whom I designed for as well - I will have to share that one sometime), and I needed something to wear with my new magenta and purple dress. So I went back to my stash and found the perfect beads and recreated this necklace in a more vibrant colorway.


{Juicy - inspired by Toast of the Town}


What do you think about this color?


I even made some earrings to match.

I am looking forward to making more like it in the future. Versatility is my calling card, and this may very well become a signature look for me. Imagine the possibilities.....

If you would like to make one like this yourself, the instructions can be found on the Michaels.com website.



20 September 2012

Forest Finery



"Come, little leaves,"
said the Wind one day.
"Come to the meadows with me
and play.
Put on your dresses
of red and gold;
for Summer is past,
and the days grow cold."

~ George Cooper

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New series ~ Forest Finery ~ available in the shop along with new Sari Snapshots


Sneak peeks will now only be on my Tesori Trovati Facebook page.
Be sure to 'like' me there!

Come and see.


What is your favorite thing about autumn?

17 September 2012

Bead Soup: The Book

"Only the pure of heart can make good soup"
   ~Beethoven



Soups on! 

The Bead Soup book is finally arriving. I am so excited to share that I am one of the contributors to this major collaborative effort spearheaded by none other than the Bead Soup-er Queen herself, Miss Lori Anderson.  

There are so many talented people (26!) taking part in this smorgasbord of bead soup, including Lori's  young son Zack. I love that he has a role in this. Something to cherish for sure. I know I felt the same way when my own daughter Tiny Dancer and I took first place in the Bead Star 2010 competition. A memory in print!

My copy should be arriving any day now, and I hear from those who have already received theirs that it is a great book. I can't wait to gobble it up from cover to cover!

There is a special blog tour coming to kick off the Bead Soup. There will be prizes and giveaways galore (including new Sari Snapshots that I am working on right now!), so you will want to check in to Lori's Pretty Things Blog for what is happening every day. My day will be the last day, Sunday, October 7th, and I am plotting the goodies I will gift, but there will be so much you won't want to miss from October 1st through the 7th. And a HUGE giveaway grand prize on the 8th.

Join me, won't you, in raising a spoon in salute to Miss Lori Anderson and the reveal of the Bead Soup Book!

 

13 September 2012

Displaying Motivation

“Intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy- a power that can carry us. It’s the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and don’t let go of it until you make it a reality. Inspiration is the reverse - when an idea gets hold of you and you feel compelled to let that impulse or energy carry you along. You get to a point where you realize that you’re no longer in charge, that there’s a driving force inside you that can’t be stopped. Look at the great athletes, musicians, artists, and writers. They all tap into a source.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I get an idea in my head I have to follow it or it acts like a burrowing worm and bores holes in my brain until I burst! I am totally believing in this quote today. I am always floating in a sea of inspiration, and I always have good intentions. But when my mind latches onto something I have to follow it until I make it happen or at least until I can gather enough information to let my mind rest again. And boy, am I motivated right now!

I have been in the throes of getting ready for my one and only art show that is coming up in less than three weeks. Three weeks! Talk about motivation! It is earlier than normal this year and I think that as of Tuesday I hit a panic button. My brain is screaming "Not ready!" I have set a goal for myself to create 5 things a day - earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants. I also have to keep in mind that I have custom orders pending and some jewelry that people are waiting on me. It is not for lack of ideas (I can't shut them off) nor is it a fault of not having enough raw materials (I actually have too much, if that is possible, and I can't stop myself from buying more!). I had the muffin tin system set up for the past year or so, each tin holding the beginnings of a project. But that is just collecting dust and getting in the way so I am constantly moving it around. I have this new system of organization that I am working on that includes a couple of these awesome rolling drawer carts
{Stanton storage cart from Home Decorators}

with each drawer containing multiple flocked jewelry display trays of varying sizes. I still have to put everything into the trays, but I have a lot that are empty. So I have at least one drawer that has my starters in each slot. So even if I just work through what is in those drawers, I will have plenty to show. And the bonus is that I can make muffins again. ;-)

It is a juggling act constantly, this push-me-pull-you of my designing vs. my available time, but even more so when I am struggling to prepare for something like this. And I still have mouths to feed and school meetings to attend and dance lessons to drive to and football games to see. I have to-do lists upon to-do lists. I rarely come up to see the light of day and usually I am in bed so very late that I miss my entire family. No balance. But that is what you do when you are building an empire from your basement. :-)

I know that this early show sets the pace for the holiday season for me and I create a lot for this that will go on to other venues so it is all good. I am always making jewelry and there is plenty of that to stock a booth with, and plenty more where that came from.

{Super fun, easy to use, works on any metal. Great possibilities!}

My daughter and I have been playing with the embossing folders and the new patinas from Vintaj and I have to say that I love them! (Although, I would love to see a few other colors, like bright red). I noticed yesterday that my work is being heavily influenced by my friend and mentor, Heather Powers and her awesome book Jewelry Designs from Nature. (Seriously, the book is one of my favorites. You will love it, too!) I think that there will be a forest, garden and sea theme happening. So how to tie it all together? I have not been all that jazzed about my booth design, it is just a table with some displays and black cloths. I wanted something fresh. So off to Pinterest I go!

Pinterest is my crack. There are days when I don't pin or even look at a pin, and then all of a sudden, there that little "Pin It" button will be staring at me and I can't help myself. I recently saw a funny joke that said that Pinterest is like Hoarders on the Internet. We pin things and keep repinning them until we  have buried ourselves in images. But do we ever do anything with them?

I have a Display Ideas pin board that I have been adding a lot to lately. And yesterday something finally clicked with me. So I ran around and scouted options for my display and I think that I am on the road to a new look for myself.

I am working with wood, upcycled furniture, office supplies, fabric, paint and ribbon... so far. I will go a bit deeper in my searches today. And if it all works out as planned then I will show you here what I did. ;-)

But here are some pins that I posted recently that are influencing my design choices...

{I want to make these out of MDF and paint. Now to find someone with a jigsaw...}

{Very cool idea for my simple truths pendants on chains in a book that says "Open me"... simple truths that tell YOUR story}

{I could put simple truths pendants on simple chains on these little wooden holders}


{For the prefinished simple truths or even earrings}

{I sure wish that I could draw... or knew someone who did. This is gorgeous! Wouldn't different poses and pictures look great in ornate frames?}


{I have a bunch of new rings I am designing and this is how I will display them...}

{Love the mini clothespins. Now to find a way to use that for my earring display cards...}

{This is the display that started all my scheming...}
Off to the thrift store... and the fabric store... and the hardware store... and the office supply store.

I sure hope that the vision in my mind and the way it works through my hands will be craftacular instead of a craftastrophe! And come in under budget and be completed faster than I ever thought possible... otherwise I will have a cool booth and nothing in it!

Your turn...

What is the coolest booth display that you have seen? What items have you repurposed into a display with a little paint, glue and imagination?

11 September 2012

My Soul is In The Sky & Birdwings

{Simple Truths Sampler - August 2012}
 
Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.
 
~Rumi 
{See me on Earrings Everyday today}
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
09.11.01  
Always remember.  
Never forget.  
Life goes on. 

05 September 2012

Postcards from the World, or Traveling is Always Better with Friends

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” — Jawaharal Nehru

I have always wanted to travel the world. And after this whopper of a world travel blog hop I feel that I have done just that! Traveling is always better with friends to share the experiences with, and I learned so much from this, about you, your styles and mostly about the beautiful nations of this planet. But I didn't have to get a passport, pack my bags, or exchange any currency! Brilliant!

Your comments about what I made are treasured in my heart. But what I made was not what this was about. It was about discovering the beauty all around this world and opening our eyes to the joys of exploring. Fitting that my word for the year is EXPLORE.


I spent the weekend out of town for some of it, and then I decided to unplug myself for the rest of it, so I did my hopping in shifts and finished up yesterday, a full day later than I expected. Half of that time was on my smartphone as I drove from one place to the next (Go Badgers!), and sometimes it was hard for me to leave a comment, particularly if there was a word verification set up. {Just a suggestion...if you feel you must have the word verification set up on your blog, that is your choice, but when you hope for comments in a hop, it is very difficult and can turn people off. For the duration of the hop, it is a good idea to turn that off.} Those new hoops that you have to jump through are impossible on a phone, even though I sometimes struggle with typing the gibberish and odd numbers on my full sized computer as well! So... if you are a participant and you did NOT get a comment from me, please, PLEASE email me and I will rectify that. I may have tried but the comment didn't go through. I fully intend to hop to each participant and you can be sure that if I come to your blog, I WILL leave a comment. (You know how wordy I am ;-). I figure that if you took the time to write something and create something, that it is my responsibility to acknowledge that and continue the conversation. So please let me know if I have made an oversight on your post.

When I started doing my Challenge series of blog hops it was so that I would push myself out of my own comfort zone. I thought I would open it up to anyone who wanted to do it with me because we all know that it is more fun with friends, right? From that little Challenge three years ago, I opened myself up to doing them quarterly this year, and what a year it has been! I chose to do them at what I felt were off-times, times when there might not be other things happening or that I might need an extra push to create something. Of course, there are never truly off-times, and the most packed months have been the ones that I set up the challenges in, but I knew that I couldn't back out.

I set them up to be a limited time frame (about a month) probably since I work best under pressure and up until the last.possible.second (et tu?). I also limit the number of participants, and so far we have not yet reached the limit on any of them. I did that purposely. Not to exclude, but more to make administrating the challenges easier, to have as little lag time as possible, and also to make it fun to hop around. I love Challenges and hops of all kinds, but I personally prefer a smaller, more intimate group. I don't want to get anyone overwhelmed by the numbers of participants. I hope that this is the right size and time frame for that.

One of the most important things for me in creating the Challenges is that they must have an element of choice... and learning something new. You have to be able to choose what is most important to your creative Muse to play along. And you have to have the choice of giving yourself an added boost to the challenge with an unknown. Additionally, I want people to do a little bit of research, to find out something more, to go beyond just a pretty thing. And I want to learn from you. Can you tell that I was once a teacher? This is the sort of thing I would do for my students (of course it was not about jewelry back then!). I really thought a lot about what the Challenge themes should be so that I had the chance to make something open-ended that could be revisited year after year and keep learning. I wasn't sure with the Challenges if these themes would stick or not, but after doing them, I can't imagine doing anything else.

So I have decided that in the coming year, the Challenge themes will remain the same, but I will find a new way to present them so that there is an element of surprise to them and we can keep dipping into that deep well of inspiration that is so different for each of us.

{Gravity inspired by Sara Bareilles' haunting song of the same name}
 In February, I will offer the Challenge of Music. This year, forty-five participants warmed us up on a cold winter day with the music that stirs their soul and offered a real world beat in their choices and musical interpretations.

{Winter Into Spring inspired by the poem "For Those Who Endure Midwest Winters"}
In May, I will offer the Challenge of Literature. Thirty-six participants this year gave us a glimpse into the stories of their lives through the words that helped shape their world.

{The Four Immeasurables inspired by Nepal}

In August, I will offer the Challenge of Travel. Fifty-nine participants just traveled with us around the world learning about the beautiful nations of this planet through ancient civilizations, pop culture, gorgeous landscapes and warm and wonderful people.

{Fortune Favors inspired by Red Velvet cupcake hues}
And in November I will offer the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color. In 2010, I had 37 showing off their true colors. Last year I had fifty-four participants painting the world with their palettes. And this year I will offer it again with a slightly different format (still working on what that is ;-).

While the themes may remain, I will do my best to come up with a new angle to keep it refreshing, interesting. I hope you will consider joining me. Sign ups for the challenge will always be the first week of the month. Reveals will be the last week.

Before I tell you of the winners of my giveaway, I have to mention that I goofed on the blog address for one of our participants. Laren told me that her blog was not correct in the list, and I thought I made that change to the way it was supposed to be written (I did), but I didn't realize that the link was still incorrect. So if you didn't get a chance to see Laren's blog because of my faulty link, please consider going there now: Laren Dee Designs.

And I have to also give a shout out to my friend and partner Miss Marcie Abney Carroll of La Bella Joya. After my last Challenge of Color I asked for any suggestions for the upcoming Challenges and it was her suggestion of travel that intrigued me the most. She is the seed that started this one, so I must humbly thank her for her inspiration. She was unable to fully participate in this Challenge because she is working on the finest creation of her life...a new baby! But I know that she wanted to be a part of this very much. Love you Miss Marcie! Keep focusing on what is most important! 

Okay. Enough already. Here is what you really came to see. The Winners. Three of them! Because I couldn't just stop at two. Chosen at random, of course. ;-)


Please email me your shipping addresses and any selections that you need to make and I will be making up a package just for you!


01 September 2012

The Challenge of Travel: Nepal

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Welcome to the Challenge of Travel!

I asked for volunteers to join me on a journey around the world experiencing cultures and people and traditions and places that we might never see otherwise. I was fortunate to have 59 fellow travelers on this journey around the world.

The Olympics was the impetus for this voyage. It was fascinating to watch all the different nations so proud of their heritage at the London games, wasn't it? It inspired me to seek out more about some of those countries to celebrate their achievements and to learn more about how we are all very much  the same no matter where we live.

I asked my friend Miss Marcie Abney Carroll (hi Marcie!) to join me since I know that travel is something important to her, and she was part of my inspiration for setting up this challenge. I asked Miss Marcie to choose my country for me. She gave it some thought and selected Nepal for me. 


Here is what Miss Marcie said about her choice:

"I thought about it all last night and decided that I definitely wanted to give you Asia so I hunted out a map and picked a small and not-so-well-known Asian country for your challenge. This place is still very steeped in tradition and religion and the country is as much about the climate and topography as it is the culture. I've chosen Nepal for you, and I was sold when I found this picture gallery: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/images"

Awesome! 

Miss Marcie was right. Asia is someplace I would love to visit one day, and Nepal is truly a gorgeous country that has so much history and culture despite its small size. It is on my list of places to visit for sure!

From terraced rice farming in the Pokhara Valley (photo by Richard L'Anson on LonelyPlanet.com)

to a sunrise view over a lake that looks as close to heaven as you can get (photo by Chris Beall on LonelyPlanet.com)
to land that looks barely uninhabitable and completely extreme, like this view of the Himalayas (photo by Richard L'Anson of LonelyPlanet.com)
...Nepal is a place of many contrasts. This land locked nation that resides just below China and north of India is the birthplace of Buddha and is steeped in rich religious history.

There were so many directions that I could go with this, but I kept coming back to pictures of stupas.

{Boudhanath Stupa - one of the holiest places in Nepal. Photo from iNepal}
Stupas are a bell shaped shrine that contain sacred relics. It seems that the most often photographed one is of the Boudhanath Stupa located in Kathmandu, the capitol of Nepal. It is the largest and holiest stupa in all of Nepal.

{Swayambunath Stupa in Kathmandu by Suzan Black courtesy of Fotopedia}

The onion shaped domes of these stupas dominate the skyline. Their spires reach to the heavens and they are built on a geometric sort of mandala. And then there are those prayer flags flying from all corners to the very tip.

Painted on all four sides are giant eyes and as squiggly nose shape. Those eyes are penetrating! They are all knowing and seem to watch you no matter what direction you are. A good reminder to live your life in such a way that those eyes can see all that you do without reservation.

{Faded prayer flags flap in the wind - photo by superkimbo on Flickr courtesy of Fotopedia}


Prayer flags are the second feature that dominates this picture. Each flag promotes peace, harmony, compassion and wisdom. It is believed that the wind blows the energy of the prayers and sacred mantras on the flags and the motion brings Joy, Happiness and Good Health to all who see them. Truly, how can you not be unhappy when you see these lively pennants traversing the sky!


On the base of the stupa are a series of prayer wheels. These ornately carved barrel shaped drums rotate on a stick and the faithful are called to walk clockwise around the base of the stupa spinning the wheels as they go and reciting the sacred mantra.

mantra  OM MANI PADME HUM

It is said that anyone who recites this mantra while spinning the wheel is equal in splendor to a thousand Buddhas. From Tibet Prayer Wheels:

The Traditional Prayer Wheel Practice - Is to spin the prayer wheel in a clockwise direction, recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM and visualize pure white light rays being emanated out from the spinning prayer wheel, this pure light comes from the millions of mantras inside the prayer wheel and goes out to ourselves and all sentient beings, purifying, healing, completely illuminating everyone, as the light rays spread throughout the whole vast universe we all instantly become awakened and realize the Four Immeasurables of Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I set about making my pieces for this Challenge, I was going in so many directions based on the images that were floating around of Nepal. I started with the prayer flags. I didn't think that I could recreate them, but I wanted that feeling of freedom and a ragged beauty with the colors that I saw.


The traditional flag colors are repetitious patterns of five colors, each representing the elements: blue=sky/space, white=water, red=fire, green=air/wind, and then yellow=earth. When all five elements are in balance, then all is in health and harmony. The Tibetan word for prayer flag is Lung ta, which literally means 'wind horse.' As the flags fade in the sun and wind the prayers become a permanent part of the Universe. My colors are not traditional. I chose to use soothing teal, vibrant lime, bold magenta, bright yellow and spice orange. I tried many different wrapping techniques on cord and rope. I wanted to play up the idea of balance and the happiness of the movement.


A gold paisley focal calls attention to the beauty of Nepalese and Tibetan textiles.  I also added some round gold filigree dangles to add to the movement and represent the ornate filigree found on the stupa. The center chain has little leaves and tiny colored beads that would play up the flag movement. But the inner part needed something. I wire wrapped a beautiful onion shaped rainbow mystic smoky quartz briolette mimicking the shape of the dome and dangled that inside a lovely patina-ed hoop from Miss FickleMedia. I finished it off with some chunky gold chain.

This lightweight bohemian chic necklace is many layered and multicolored.

{Wind Horse necklace - $45 - available in my NEW webshop!}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am greatly influenced by color and textures and Nepalese textiles were an influence for me. 

 

I have had these lovely paisley components from Heather Powers of Humblebeads in my drawer since I scooped them up from her booth at the Bead & Button show. It worked so well with the paisley clasp (that I used as a pendant in the first necklace) that I decided a little bracelet would be in order.

{look at how those melon balls glow!}
 
I found some carved lucite balls in a beautiful melon shade, these ornate rhinestone ball beads and some amethyst faceted chaton chain.

{Silk Road bracelet}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My favorite piece by far was influenced by the prayer wheels found in the stupas. I have been making these new sari snapshot pendants in my simple truths style now for a few weeks. I found a lot of interesting shaped bezels to use but this teardrop one, the only one I had, was calling to me. So I set about putting a sari snapshot in there in cheery colors of teal, magenta and lime.



I brought back some really special finds from the Bead & Button show this year and now was my chance to use them.

These rough cut and faceted dyed moonstone are treated with an AB finish that renders them so rich looking. The color is saturated and deep and those flashes of blue really make this special. I have been doing a lot of color-blocking lately and added in some soft green prehnite beads that I had been hoarding spaced by some teal seed beads.

{aren't these beads juicy?}


I paired those moonstone beads with a beaded bead from the booth for The Bead Goes On. I love the texture and the color of these beads. But how to hang the pendant? I got out those seed beads again, this time in a lemony-lime color and made a little beaded perch for that sari snapshot.

{the most perfect prayer wheel bead}


I knew I needed something special for this necklace, demanded it. I went seeking and found just what I needed from LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio: a one of a kind prayer wheel bead. LeAnn said that she only made three of these and {unfortunately} does not expect to make more. One is in a necklace she gave to her daughter, one is in a necklace that she wears herself for strength, and now this one is in my necklace. Thank you, Miss LeAnn. I will wear this with great honor. The prayer wheel is meant to be spun on the outside of the stupa so that the prayers can find their way into the Universe. I left this bead loose so that I could spin it anytime and hopefully bring enlightenment to my soul.



These turquoise inlaid brass beads are paired with some links from a defunct Avon bracelet that I used to wear but wore out! I am not one to throw things away. I love the way they perfectly mimic the shapes on the prayer wheel bead. Serendipity!

{The Four Immeasurables necklace}
I love this necklace so much. I will not be able to part with it. It symbolizes my journey with this Challenge and has some very special pieces and will remind me that there is much Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity all around me and within me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for taking this journey through Nepal with me! There are so many other countries to visit in this Challenge of Travel, and I hope you will grab a cup of your favorite beverage and hop around the world with me over the next few days seeing what inspired the other intrepid travelers on the list! 

UPDATE: Sandra Wollberg had to bow out graciously at the last minute. But please go and visit her blog and send her some blog love anyway. And I just discovered that we had a last minute addition!

Kashmira Patel of Always in Bloom got so inspired by what we were doing that she wrote a little blog post about her travels right before she was to leave on a trip! She didn't participate in the hop (next time Kashmira!) but I think her travel stories are fun to read.

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com

Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu

Just as you would bring back a souvenir of your travels to share with someone special, I would like to giveaway the paisley bracelet Silk Road (above) and one custom made Sari Snapshot pendant (in winner's choice of color) to two random winners. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 4th. Thank you for traveling with us!

All you need to do is leave a comment below about anything travel related.... where you would like to travel to, what is the best vacation you ever had, what inspires you most about this lovely planet of ours. Whatever you want to share! But... in order to win, you MUST have your email turned on in your preferences or provide your email in your comment. (If I can't get in touch with you, sorry but you cannot win.)


P.S. The final Challenge of the year will be the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color in November. Watch for the signups the first week for a limited number of spots!

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