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!


Malin de Koning said...

Wow! Lucky me! :-)

How ever beautiful I think that bracelet is, I think I still anyway want a pendant. I'll message you via Etsy. Thank you so much Erin! What a treat!

AntiquityTravelers said...

what wonderful hops! I would love to join the Nov one :)

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Erin,
I have participated in a couple of your challenges so far and I must say I have had a wonderful time doing the research and creating my pieces. I look forward to hopefully getting a place in your up coming challenge of color. Congratulations to Leanne and Rita the winners of the sari snapshot pendants and Malin of the bracelet or a pendant (which I see in her comment that she chose a pendant).

LisaS said...

It was so fun participating in this blog hop! I look forward to doing one again sometime ;) Congratulations to the winners.

Cece Cormier said...

Thanks again for hosting the hops. Always fun to create something and a delight to hop around to visit the virtual showcases of the participants.

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

While I enjoy every blog hop that I participate in, I actually learned so much from this one and I appreciate that! I had a great time..thank you for hosting! And congratsnto the winners of your sari pendants!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was such a fun hop Erin, I learned a lot about countries that I had barely heard of, and I found it intriguing to see what inspired each participant. And it was cool that people with the same countries found different things to inspire them too.
Hopefully I'll be back for the next challenge too, they are such a fun way to try new things!

Charming Peggy said...

I am looking forward to doing one of your challenges. I am new to blogging but I will have all of it figured out eventually.

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

I agree with Melissa's comment: one of the surprising, and amazing, aspects was having several participants looking at the same country, yet showing the beauty with fresh eyes each time. Thanks for inspiring everyone to really see the wonders of our world, Erin!

Anonymous said...

Erin, this hope was so much fun, I want to do another....but not just yet, LOL. I am in total agreement about those blogs that ask you to prove you are not a robot. Twice I lost my whole comment while trying to squint out the tiny numbers and mushed together letters. As I try to do a thoughtful comment, I was frustrated to lose them and start over.
Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway!
Traveling with you has been a blast! Maybe some time we could do "time travel".


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