01 August 2011

Live What You Love...and a Giveaway!

"If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page."

~ Mark Houlahan
 I always look forward to the new publications that come out each month. I get a lot of them via subscription. Some I pick up at the store. It thrills me to find so many of my friends listed as the contributing designers. I feel like they are right there with me when I pop open the pages to see their designs and read about their inspirations.

I remember back when I first got into beading I would pick up the random copy of Stringing or BeadStyle. I would pore over every issue and rip out pages of the ones I liked the best. I often wondered how those people whose names I saw in those pages got that job. Yes. I thought that those names were designers that were on staff of the magazines. Then I started noticing the same people in some of my favorite resource books. That is the job for me, I thought.

Little did I know that those designers were just like me. They were dabbling in their basements playing with beads and creating pretty things. They were not 'on staff' per se, but they were paid for their time. But more than that, they were seeing their designs published.

At the urging of a friend who is a well published paper artist, I submitted my first two pieces to a new beading magazine in September of 2007. I was surprised that they were both picked up, even though she told me that it isn't likely on my first time out as it took her many tries before that happened. In fact, one was the necklace that a bride was wearing. The design was supposed to be received the weekend of the wedding. When I explained the situation, they agreed to give me a few extra days. At the end of the night I had to take the necklace off the bride and package it up to overnight to them. (And yes, she was okay about that!)

Once I had my very first piece published in Bead Trends January 2008, I was hooked on this whole publishing thing. It was like crack to me. I wanted to keep trying at it, and I dipped my toes in a few more times in 2008. Then in 2009 I set a goal for myself to be published once per month that year. I did it, but it was a helluva lot of hard work and I thought that perhaps I had burned out my creativity. That didn't happen and I still love to be in the publications, but I am more realistic about the time that I have and just send designs in when I can and hope for the best.

I remember the first thing that I had published in Stringing. A necklace with an asymmetrical Bali silver flower focal in loads of pearls. It was in a Winter issue. And I understand that it has been republished in an online issue devoted to weddings.

I am usually not so good with keeping ahead of the seasons. I am usually right in the moment that is going on and it is sometimes hard for me to switch gears. But in December 2010 I had just started making what has become known as my 'simple truths' pendants. I made some as gifts for the nieces and one more substantial necklace for each of my sisters-in-law. One of them I liked so much I recreated the colors and feel of it with a slightly different pendant because I thought it would be page-worthy. And the editors at Stringing agreed with me. I was delighted to send in not only that necklace but bracelet and earring design as well. And then I forgot about it.
But about two weeks ago, the sweet Danielle Fox, editor of Stringing, sent me a sweet note "You're a Stringing Star!" and showing me the cover of the Fall issue with my necklace on the front.
That just blows me away.

Not every single thing that I send into magazines gets picked up. But that doesn't stop me from trying.  I have studied what the different focus is for each publication so that I know if something I have made might work for one then I submit it. To be honest, I have had more than one thing turned down by one publication but then sent it to another... et voila! It was published. So don't let a rejection discourage you. There are still publications that I have attempted to crack into but haven't had the right piece to send in or the ones I have were all rejected. That disappointment might sting a bit, but it also helps me to refocus and change the piece or find a more suitable place for it.

And while I am not 'on staff' of these publications (but that is a goal for someday!), I have treasured the relationships that I have fostered with the editors and assistants there. They are some of the best people! I thoroughly enjoy everyone and I have been blessed with being a part of these different publishing communities.

The moral of my story is that anyone can be published.

Here are some tips that work for me that might help you if you are interested in submitting your own designs for publication.

  • DO study your favorite publications for the style and type of pieces that are accepted and tailor your submission to the type that they feature.
  • DON'T knock off something that is in the magazine to submit to another. I am sure that they read all the competing publications.
  • DO be open and positive and accommodating with the editors and their assistants. Respond promptly, follow their lead and remember that you are making contacts to cultivate for the future.
  • DON'T be discouraged if your submissions aren't selected. Look at them with a critical eye and fix things, or find a publication that it might be a better fit for.
  • DO write your instructions in the format that they provide.
  • DON'T forget to email that to them if asked in addition to putting a hard copy in the box.
  • DO keep track of the sources for the materials of the piece you are submitting. Provide websites if possible (sometimes companies have a submission policy and they love to know that you are using their materials!).
  • DON'T submit anything that is not ready for an extreme close-up. That means that all wraps are perfect and no wires are showing, everything should be finished to the best of your ability.
  • DO keep the packaging to a minimum but well protected and in keeping with your brand identity.
  • DON'T be afraid to send in simple designs. I have a tendency to overthink things, and this cover piece is one of the more simple designs I have ever made.
  • DO take a chance. You have nothing to lose if do and a whole lot gain so... go for it!

If you are ready to try it yourself, here are some links to publications that I love (some I have been in, some I would like to be in) that are always looking for new and inspiring designs:
And because I want to celebrate, I am kicking off the first of several giveaways this month on my blog. My birthday is coming up in just 10 days and I would like to share the love with you, my loyal readers. So watch for more fun to come!
I normally don't make too many of the same thing, I prefer one-of-a-kinds to one-of-a-million. I also find it incredibly difficult to reproduce the same thing over and over. But to celebrate making the cover of Stringing, I have created a limited edition run of the pendants on the cover. You can get yours in my Etsy shop (I promise to post more this week!) but how about the chance to win one?
One lucky random commenter will win one of the limited edition 'simple truth' pendants from the cover.
I don't like to make people jump through hoops or follow me if they don't want to. All you have to do is answer the question. But only if you want to. Or you can just say hi. Or whatever you want to say. But just be sure that I have a way to get in touch with you. That is the only way to win. Deadline to leave your comment is Friday, August 5th. These look just as great on a simple chain as they do in a piece of jewelry. If you want me to put it on a chain for you to wear out of the box, I will even do that for you.   
The honor of this cover reminds me that every step I take I am one step closer to living what I love every day of my life, and that the only way to make that happen is to believe it. 

What does "live what you love" mean to you? Tell me what that would look like to you for the chance to win a pendant!
Random winner will be selected from all comments on this post received by August 5th. International welcome!

P.S. Be sure to have your email turned on in your profile! If you leave a comment I will respond so you can be sure that you are in the drawing. If I cannot respond, then I will have no way to reach you. Please check your profile to be sure that your email is displayed!


Gardanne said...

Congratulations on your cover Erin. I love your focals, I have been pulling out my reds this week too.
By the way I love your use of fiber in your piece used on your banner.

KayzKreationz said...

To me it means to find what it is you love or love to do and revolve your life around it. To make it part of your whole life. My family is my first love so I try to always put them and their wishes/likes first. But I do have other loves and I try to do/work at them as much as possible or time allows. I love your pendants and would love a chance to win one. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Live what you love means to have the courage to follow your dreams

rockcreekcreations said...

I think it means to live how those that love you, would like to see you live!

moonlitfantaseas said...

congratulations! living what you love means being able to revolve your life around the things you love and the things you love to do, and havong the strength and ability to do it isn't always easy, but it is so worth while.....

Beth said...

Do what you love to do-- in my case spending time with friends and family cooking them dinners--

Congratulations on the cover and thanks for the tips-- someday when I am not cooking for everyone I would like to get a project published.

Beth F

Regina said...

Congratulations on the cover selection, it is a gorgeous necklace. Thanks for the great post too. I would love to be published, but I have not yet mastered the working way ahead of the season bit. Plan to get there someday. Live what you love... the kind of person that others can look at and say she is a good and decent human being, loving my God, my family and my country. But really I love to bead, but that would be so trivial... wouldn't it? Can I say I live to bead... my husband thinks so!

Karen Gille said...

Living what you love means that a big part of your life should include doing what you love.
I really enjoyed reading about your experiences with publishing your work. I can imagine what a rush it would be to see your pieces in a book or magazine! Maybe I'll give it a try sometime!
Thanks for all the helpful information.

Kristi said...

That is opne beautiful necklace, many contratulations for being on the cover, very exciting!!! I tried submitting a few times in the past but I did let myself get discouraged when I got turned down. I just sent about 15 requests out over the weekend so I would be over the moon if even one of them is used. I love being creative and I'm trying my hardest to live it every day. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight with all of us!

Honey from the Bee said...

Love your post - tells me the story and excitement of your journey so well. Love love luv that necklace! Congratulations on being on the cover!

rosebud101 said...

Erin, that is awesome!! congraultations!!!!

Laura S Reading said...

Congratulations on the beautiful cover. Thank you for such an inspiring post.

I would love to get paid to spend time with animals, while creating fun and fabulous creations, and hunt for treasures to repurpose.

Cynthia said...

I received my stringing magazine, and noticed you were on the cover - BIG congratulations to you! I really want to submit some of my designs to magazines and your post is just what I needed!
Maybe I'll win - I can never have too many simple truths!

Noemi said...

What a great post!!
I am the sort of person that wouldn't get myself around to send anything to a magazine, but I will take all this information and links in and start to think about it.
About your pendant quote I have to say that finally I am living what I love. I have finally started to set up my new future job, by creating jewellery, and even though I am still very far from where I would love to be because of my circumstances, I am at the beggining of the road, and that is actually a lot, because finally I know where I am heading.

Michelle Mach said...

This is a SUPER post! You are spot-on about all your advice about submitting to publication.

Hmm . . . "live what you love" means finding joy in everyday life . . . like a bowl of strawberries or finding a cute skirt in the back of your closet that you forgot about and still fits. Love what you do, love who you are!

SueBeads said...

Erin - congrats again! BTW, my daughter's birthday is this month - she turned 16 today! If I could live what I love, I'd be making a great living at making beads and jewelry! It also means to keep trying, just like you do! Thanks for the chance to win!Oh, and I wish that skirt in the back of my closet still fit!

Judy said...

Oh Miss Erin you are a star and I am so happy for others to know that too! Your necklace is just beautiful and I love the red, it is not a color we tend to see a lot of.
Any magazine would be honored to have you on their staff with your great design skills and gift for writing.
To me LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE, means to do what you love each day...live your dream!

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

Erin, many congrats to you on the cover feature! Woohoo! Feels good to be a "Cover Girl" now doesn't it?

To me "live what you love" means that you are doing what makes your heart feel good and leaves you at peace at the end of each day.

Cindi said...

Congratulations. And what an awesome idea for you to share in your celebration. Live what you love to me would loving what you do for a living. I would like to do that before I retire. And this beautiful piece would be an awesome win.

Alice said...

Congratulations on the cover feature! I'm as proud as a peacock for you!!!

'Live what you love' to me means doing what makes me happy, but not at the expense of others. It means making others happy, but not to the point that it makes me unhappy.

Beverley Baird said...

Congratulations! You so deserve it!
To love what I love would be to make art and teach art to children!

Cheeseboy said...

Interesting. I had no idea that there were publications out there for stringing. A better person could not be chosen for the cover!

swopemelmel said...

AWESOME & well deserved. Kudos. I love children and their families and for over 20 some years now I have lived what I love. I am an early childhood education teacher and in the last few years I have moved into center Admin to assist families and the local community with their child care needs. I have also worked as a professional clown and children's entertainer and to me that was "living out loud". swopemelmel@aol.com

Lisa said...

WOW! Erin! That is just awesome! I love reading your blog, it is so inspiring....always! Simple Truths, yes they are, but the deep sentimental truths you attach to each and everyone of them make us all think a little deeper and wider and make me, especially, appreciate all those things so much more!

"Live what you love" I believe means living life to its fullest because you will never get time back, living with no regrets, and putting yourself into each and every moment, even if it's just simply breathing and thanking God for being!

Would be honored to win one of your pendants. Not sure about the email in the profile so here it is, jewelry by l hamilton (at) yahoo (dot) com

EmandaJ said...

I have always known you are a STAR -- congratulations on your cover!!
Live what you love -- hmm -- I try to be open to the creativity that bubbles up inside me. I try to be on the look out for beautiful things and I spend hours pouring over the magazines that you have been published in and I get tickles when I see your work on the pages.

You go girl!!

Alice Howe said...

As I get older, it is easier to get rid of attachments and expectations. I try to love the moment that I am in. Live in the present with no regrets. Compassion is the only way. And that is so easy to live and love.

FrankandRox said...

Congrats Erin! I look forward to my copy hitting the mailbox.to answer your question, I think I'm learning slowly but surely.

Torque Story said...

Thank you for the great publication tips. To me, "live what you love" means understanding gratitude and not taking good fortune for granted.

Cindy said...

Erin, I recognized your pendant immediately once I got my issue of Stringing! Congratulations - what an honor. I think it's inspirational how you just started your Simple Truths line and then it makes its way to the cover of Stringing - a perfect example of Living What You Love becoming a reality.

sandi m said...

Received my copy the other day and immediately was drawn to the colors of the cover piece (red, my fav), and was so happy to see it was your piece - Congratulations!!
Great advice; my first ever submission was accepted. It's a great feeling of validation.
"Live what you love" ~ doing something each day that you are totally passionate about.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I made your same statement: "that's my job!", but I know that I still have to improve before I can get what I want. Anyway, I read carefully your tips and I will be sure not to forget them.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the front cover! I pic up this magazine from time to time when I can get it in the UK, and I'll be sure to look out for this one :) at the moment I'm having a hard time figuring out what it is that I love doing. So I guess to me, it's figuring that out and then doing it and being happy.

Jen Judd said...

I have that issue of Stringing right here on my table and have been meaning to write to you to send a big blog hug and a congratulations! I love that you've been featured with a design that is wonderfully simple (because I have been overthinking things lately...designs, life....) and has a little piece of your creative heart front and center. Wonderful things!!! Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Erin! I just love that necklace! And thanks for such a great post and advice. Living what I love would mean making a living at something I love to do, not matter what it is, so my life would seem like one big play time! I wish :-)

Marcie Abney Carroll said...

Congratulations! There can never be too much said on the topic of submitting to magazines. I wish more artists would just do it! I love finding "new" talent. Great job, Erin!

Isabel said...


I think you are a great designer and I really love your pieces of jewlery, you should be a bit more self confident because you have much talent indeed; And what's more your blog is always full of interesting things or experiences you share with us

thanks for all and congratulations dear Erin

Isabelle from France

Isabel said...

Dear Erin

You're a great designer and I reaaly love your work, I think you should be a bit more self-confident because you have much talent indeed and wht's more your blog is always full of interesting things or experiences you share with us
so thanks for all and congratulations!!
Isabelle from France

Eleanor Snare said...

I've been pondering over sending submissions in to magazines for a month or so now, so thank you very much for the advice. It's great to hear about people who've achieved part of their dreams (well done!) and worked hard at it, and great too to get advice from them!

In response to your question: 'Live what you love' means a lot to me. Being a young student, I've only ever worked in boring, under-paid, dead end retail jobs for nearly the last 10 years. In September I graduate from my MA with a dissertation about a subject I love (fashion) and have just been offered a full time job as an online editor. The offer of the job has proved to me that all through my studies, when I've been writing and editing and doing lots of work for free and because I loved it, everything I've done has been worth it. Hard work has paid off - and will continue to pay off as I continue to do everything I love doing, but with the added security of a wage to help along the way. It'll mean I can experiment more with my jewellery making hobbies, as I will have the funds (and still some time) to do it, and allow me space in which I can do things like approach magazines and shops about my work. So 'live what you love' means just that - do everything, everyday, that you enjoy - but also that doing things you love will eventually pay off and improve your life for the better.

Long comment, but thought it was worth saying! Congratulations again on being the cover girl ;)



Unknown said...

Beautiful pendants Erin!!

And a Big Congrats to you!!

To me Living what you Love is pouring your whole heart into what you Love..and living by and doing that. No matter what you see not to be discouraged because if you know you can Bloom you will! There is No stopping you when you Live what you Love..after all.."Let thine own heart be true..."!

Mellisa said...

Congratulations on being a cover girl! I'm not the least bit surprised and I so admire your dedication in sending in submissions :)

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Congratulations to you Erin, how exciting!! Live what you love - working in my studio with the door and window open, wearing jeans and sneakers, listening to the birds chirp, the water in the pond trickle, music on and creating to my heart's content. This is my goal. I have spent the past 31 years raising a family, working for someone else - their time frames, expectations. I want to live my life doing what I love and answering to myself. This is my goal for the next year, to find a way to make a living doing what I love!

Malin de Koning said...

Congrats on the cover Erin!

This post is very very good! And so useful to me. Thank you so much!

I can't believe you set out to be published every month for a whole year, AND you made it. That is so impressive!

Live what you love - to me it means to as much as possible do what I love, to enjoy what I do, to be with the people I like, to be in places I like, to make the choices to make all of this possible, to steer away from things that drag me down, to invest in the now, to invest in future possibilities, to be nice, to be friendly, to be to others the way you wish them to be to you. It is an attitude to think of both in the now and for an overall lifelong perspective. One important thing also, to leave the past behind. Look to the now and the future, and make sure to do everything in your power to make it lovely and beautiful. And even one more, learn to live with the things you can't change. Allow yourself to be angry though, if it is necessary. Do not try to be perfect. Or emotionless. Allow yourself to be who you are. And how you are. And love a lot! Love to live!

Brandi Hussey said...

I'm so floored by how much you've been published!

Since I started my jewelry business, I occasionally see friends in the magazines and I get so excited for them. If I'm at a bead store when this discovery happens, I shriek and point it out to everyone there.

As far as what "Live what you love" means to me, it means to do what you love, say what you mean, and live your life authentically. It means that at the heart of it, you're driven by passion and a love for what you're doing. And that's beautiful.

Unknown said...

Oh Sweet Erin you so inspire me! Through the time that I have known you you have given me challenges and reminded me to "Find the good in Every Day" I so wish I could start a standing ovation just for you!
Living what you love is not as easy as it sounds but it is so rewarding. Being true to yourself, your family, and friends is the best way to love how you live but sometimes just sometimes living what you love is stepping out of the norm and jumping in that brings it all together.

Congrats my friend you are always a star to me!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Erin

Live what you love means doing something you love so it can return you to your true self. I love the simple, elegant and intense.


Erin Siegel said...

Congratulations on being a cover girl, Erin! Whoooo Hoooo!

JeannieK said...

Congratulations Miss Erin. Love the color palette. I don't subscribe to any magazines, but I will be sure to pick up a copy of this one.

Anyone who does what they love and loves what they do is very fortunate.

Cillaw said...

Beautiful Cover and Pendant.
Not many people can live what they love.
What ever you love you try to live with, your job, your husband, your hobby, your life, it's yours and you are the designer. Do your best.

Mary K. McGraw said...

Congratulations on your cover.
To me "Live What You Love" means having a life that revolves around what brings you pleasure and keeps you in the moment so you realize your life's inner purpose.

Erin S said...

Thats a great post, Erin. Incredibly similar to my own story, and I agree with everything you said about publishing. (especially the addictive part!) Congrats on your cover! You deserve it and I'd love to win one of your pendants.

"Live what you love" simply means finding something you are passionate about, setting aside your insecurities about failure or not being good enough, and diving in head first. Go for it!

Erin S

CraftyHope said...

Oh wow! I needed this post from you so very much. In fact, I think I will be linking to it in my blog post today. . .if you don't mind.

Live what you love. . .
To me, this means simply to work, play, and go about the tasks of life doing what truly makes you happy. I hope to be there someday.

Congratualtions on the magazine cover and thank you for all the inspiration and information you've provided in this post!

Holly said...

Oh my! Congratulations on being a cover girl! What an awesome thing for you :) And thanks so much for the inspiring words in your blog! You always are so thoughtful and encouraging with what you post.

Karyn B said...

Congratulations on the cover! The cover piece is so yummy and full of texture and vibrant color. Live what you love... to me that means living a creatively fulfilling life. :D

Cindy Cima said...

Great post! To me - "live what you love" means for me to continue "pushing forward" In my goal to make a living with my craft. Doesn't have to be a good living - just enough so that I can continue with my craft.

Shai Williams said...

To me it means to find what makes you happy and working toward doing that for a living.

Cheryl K Roe said...

I believe that it means to live passionately. If it is worth loving it, it is worth living that way. Great pendants

Rebecca said...

These are *beautiful* Erin. I love the colours and the slightly ethnic feel they have to them, I can totally see why it hit the front cover :-)

Michelle said...

Congrats on your cover, Miss Erin! As soon as I saw that it was you...I had that reaction--"I know this artist!" It's a lovely piece and you deserve the cover.

Valerie Norton said...

Thank you for posting your tips on magazine submissions. I'm working on a few pieces that I want to submit and you answered some of the questions I had. It also gave me a little "nudge" to go ahead a take a risk! Congrats on your publications!


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