02 November 2012

Blog Hops R Us

Did you see the post yesterday about the sign ups for the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color? Go to the page above that says 'take the challenge' to sign up!

As luck would have it, and after all the {supposedly} careful planning that I did on the post and the Wufoo forms over the past week, I completely screwed up. Thanks to some of my faithful readers who pointed it out, I think I have the glitches all worked out!

I have been working on that post for days now. And I thought that I had my forms all set. But what I failed to do was to delete the entries from the LAST challenge. There were already 60 in that file and then it hit the limit of 80 pretty quick! I don't have access to my emails during the day, so I didn't find out until that evening. So I had to go through the list one by one to delete the old ones, preserving the new entries. And this was also why some people who had signed up in the past couldn't do it again, as it is set to only accept one entry per IP. DOH! And even though I changed all the dates on the forms, there was one hidden spot you had to click to see the text of the email even though I changed it in one place. Why do they have to make it so convoluted! So the dates that went out in the auto email were wrong. Double DOH!

The blog hop is November 30th. I will be sending out more information in a few days to clarify.

Thanks for your patience with this one-woman show!


Before I forget... The Random Gods have spoken and the winner of the Forest Finery pendant is............................................................................................

Margot Potter!

Miss Madge, kindly shoot me an email with your snail mail address and I will send you one of the limited edition pendants with the message 'i speak for the trees' from the Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

And speaking of the pendants, would you like to see them? I am back up and running in my Etsy shop....finally. I had to unplugged for the weekend and all the crazy deadlines I accepted (or rather put on myself). The new Forest Finery pendants that I referred to with these messages were created just for Heather Powers' Inspired by Nature retreat and each participant got one of these in their goodie bags.

'a weed is but an unloved flower' ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The remaining pendants are now in my Etsy shop. Shall we celebrate with a flash sale? I think so! Use the code FOREST15 in my Etsy shop now until Monday, November 5th for 15% off your purchases (sorry, the discount will not apply to the Simple Truths Sampler Clubs as they are already discounted. Speaking of which, there are plenty of spaces that just opened up in there! Perfect as a gift that keeps on giving for yourself... or maybe someone you love who would love a new pendant/charm/etc each month! I can even add a chain. Christmas is coming... hint...hint...;-)


Enough of all that. Today is all about the blog hopping. So come along with me on a creative journey!

Humblebeads Teal Branches Blog Hop

I am smitten with Miss Heather's Humblebeads.

I seriously have an addiction to them. I cannot have too many (I just bought more tonight! What? She was having a special newsletter only sale to celebrate her impending move to a NEW HOUSE! Woot!), and then I hoard them obsessively. But actually, I love that her beads pair so very well with all the colors and motifs of my own Simple Truths, so I really do find that I use them all the time.

When Heather proposed a little blog hop showing what we would do with the beads that she sent her partner for the Bead Soup book, I knew that I wanted in. I happened to have that exact teal branch lentil in my stash, so I just bought the beads.

Now Heather is like me in that she makes things in small batches. So the teal on my lentil is not exactly the same as the teal on the disk beads. But I don't care!

At the Inspired by Nature retreat, Heather taught us all sorts of fun tricks with hammers and wire and beads. I decided to go against the grain and use these pieces in my necklace for this challenge rather than make what was on the instructions. I am a rebel like that. ;-)

We made Vintaj Arte Metal blanks look like birch bark with some simple hammering and buffing. (I used sand paper to rub off as much of the black finish and then used some pearl alcohol ink to add that papery white touch I love). We used wire and seed beads to make dainty little Queen Anne's Lace flower petals.And we played around with Swellegant to created our own rusty, crusty and patina-ed pieces like this flower bead cap I made. At the back I added some teal dupioni silk from my goodie bag, brown silk cord and nubby white cotton yarn for a very soft and cozy feel. I decided to roll all of those things together in this necklace I am calling "Into the Woods."

Thank you for always making the beads I can't live without and for inspiring me to push my creative boundaries my friend! Now go and see what the others made! (But be sure to come back!)


Michaels Toast of the Town Variations Blog Hop

I have to admit that when I had this idea for a variations blog hop, I really didn't think about the date. I have been a bit busy myself. But I didn't want to let the fine folks at Michaels and Halcraft down, plus I really have to admit that it is a bit self-serving to want to see how you can translate my instructions into something new!

The tip I gave everyone is to find a toggle clasp that is big enough for your two strands to go through and then snip off the loop. Diana at the Inspired by Nature retreat worked on one and suggested a gemstone donut. Brilliant! It would work with any round ring. The strands just need to be free moving.

The second tip that I have is to stagger your patterns on your strands to balance them out. That way you won't have the exact same beads competing for the same space. By doing this you get that balanced patterning to satisfy your symmetrical side and all together you get the randomness that those patterns make when stacked to appeal to the asymmetrical side of your personality!

There really is no wrong way to do this design, and the ones that I have seen so far will demonstrate this. And this is a great way to approach any design that you like in a magazine or book or online publication. Don't be afraid to play with it and make it your own!

All told there are at least seven ways to wear this. Discovered another one this past weekend! I pulled up on one strand and the other three fell downward making a waterfall effect. Now there are eight!

Miss Holly Summerville O'Daley decided to play along but she doesn't have a blog, so I am showing off her work. She used virtually the same color palette from the original, but with different beads.

{Holly made this her own with the way cool connectors making this even MORE versatile!}
 And the truly brilliant part is that she made the strands connected to the toggle bar with a spring loaded connector (from the Tori Spelling jewelry line. I love those! I bought all of them up at my Michaels ;-) so that you could remove the individual strands and connect them to yet another blingy link with lobster claw clasps. Outstanding!

Miss Molly Schaller is my partner in crime on the Halcraft Beading Dream Team. I just love her style and sense of color! She was inspired to play along with us and since she doesn't have a blog she just started a blog - today! - with this as her first post! But I told her I would still share. Be sure to go and give her some blog love. You will definitely want to follow her! All the beads used are from Michaels and the Bead Gallery line and have a completely different vibe.Very earthy and almost tribal.

{Molly made this her own with an earth and sky color palette that looks right at home in the southwest or walking on a beach!}
I told the hoppers that I wouldn't get around to making my piece until Thursday night. And as of 7pm, I kid you not, I hadn't even started! I had decided earlier on that I would make this variation using whatever mix of beads I happened to have on hand to show how great this looks with all those random bits and orphans that I know you have lying about.

I started by getting out a bowl and pawing through all my bead orphans to find things in colors that I liked. I spent about 30 minutes just randomly throwing things in the bowls. I walked around my studio and picked up beads left on mats and in cups and even a few that were rolling around on the floor. I also happened to have three different Bead Gallery strands that were already partially used so they went into the bowl, too. I started to notice that I was gravitating to aqua, teal, lavender, champagne and gray.

I mixed them up and just started stringing without looking at what I was picking up. The result is something so deliciously random. Yet it works! I also decided that since I had limited time to execute this, I would set a time limit. I gave myself no longer than 2 hours to make this. And I did it in 1 hour and 16 minutes! (I think writing up this massive post took me more time!)

Here is my latest variation:

I want to point out the clasp. The rhinestone link that I found was not actually a toggle. There were loops on either end. I cut them off and carefully filed the edges smooth (I used a little gold paint pen to match the metal). Since I didn't have a toggle bar to go with this, I opted for a hook clasp. But it was too plain. So I wired on some random seed beads matching the colors of the palette. When you open it up to wear long, the hook gets tucked in the strands and you don't even see it. Voila!

I had three random winners of beads that I sent off for this challenge. Tanya, Lee and Elisabeth each got goodie packages from me and I have no idea what colors they got! The others in this list below used their own beads, or used it as an excuse to trot off to Michaels to use their 50% off coupons last week. Win-win!

Thank you for coming along to play with me in this Michaels Toast of the Town Variation Blog Hop Challenge! This was so much fun. It is very gratifying to see how you are taking the directions that I made and truly making it your own. That is what an artist does, and you are all artists! I feel like popping some champagne and toasting each of you!

Michaels Toast of the Town Variations Blog Hop

Pam - Re-Maker
Michelada - Micheladas Musings
Kay - Kayz Kreationz  (Note: Kay had to go out of town. Do check back for her reveal!)

If anyone else is playing along and I somehow forgot you, just leave your link to your post in the comments and I will add it.

If you love what you see, and really want to try to make this yourself, please check out the instructions on the Michaels.com website. And if you would be so kind as to scroll down and review this design and instructions, I would greatly appreciate it!

What colors would you like to try making this in? How would you envision making this necklace your own variation? Do you prefer to make things from instructions exactly like the picture, or are you more apt to play around and make it your own? Do tell!

P.S. The sign ups for the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color blog hop will close on Sunday, November 4th. Join us for a colorful time!


Patti Vanderbloemen said...

I have to admit, I love this version of your necklace just as much as your original! These colors are delicious together! And your clasp (hook included) is just gorgeous!

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Wow Erin - love those colors you use for your piece - GORGEOUS!!!! I love, love, love what you did to the clasp, ingenious! Thanks again for letting mom and I play along - it was a blast!

re-maker said...

I love the overall versatility of this design, it can be made and worn in endless combinations.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Marcie Abney Carroll said...

Oh, Erin, I do want to join the challenge of color! But you and I both know I'm hoarding my creative time when I have it as it is so rare to come by when the stars align and I have time and feel up to playing with my pretties. I can't wait to see what everyone creates though, I know it will be gorgeous!

Heather Powers said...

I loved seeing the Bare Branches design come to live before my eyes Erin! What an awesome way to add in all those little techniques we worked on in class. Your Toast of the Town is so much fun, I can't wait to see what everyone else whipped up with that great necklace design. Each one looks so fresh and different. Hope you get to enjoy a little quite time during the weekend! You deserve a break you busy beader!

Tanya said...

Your Humblebeads necklace is amazing! (I will be moving over to that hop too .. such awesome beady goodness.)

I love this version of Toast of the Town almost more than the original. The blues and greens and pops of purple are awesome together. I love your beaded hook. It looks so dressed up for the party!

Thank you for hosting this challenge. It was so much fun! (My husband actually noticed--and complimented--my version when I wore it the other day. This is rare for him and I credit your wonderful design. :)

The Crafty Mama said...

Erin, thank you so much for your words of encouragement and the shout out on your blog! I am excited beyond words about being able to participate in the craft world in a new way. Your new piece is gorgeous! I love the crystal oval links without the loops. They're so glamorous. Way to use up that beady debris! I need to make something with all of the extras in my little workshop. Have a lovely day, Ms. Erin!

Unknown said...

Erin, what great eye candy! I love your design for Humblebeads. I am inspired by your gathering a bunch of beads and randomly putting them together for your toast of the town necklace, the colors are stunning as well as the design. Thank you so much! I had a great time checking out everyone's designs.

Have a wonderful day!

Rebecca said...

Just gorgeou Erin! I think I like your new Toast of the Town even better than the first one. Beautiful colour selection. I somehow didn't that it could be worn in two different ways! Brilliant.

Zeniswoman said...

Erin, thank you so much for letting me play and posting my pics. I've never done anything like this... It was great fun! I really appreciate your generosity of spirit and creativity. Both of your new designs are just lovely!
Many blessings,

rosebud101 said...

Erin, this was a great challenge for me! I will make this pattern again! Thank you for hosting this blog hop!

Alicia said...

Erin, although I couldn't participate, I love your design!

StrandedInTheCity said...

I made my own version today using what I had on hand - love all your stuff! Check mine out here: http://strandedinthecity.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/toast-of-the-town/.


KayzKreationz said...

Erin, I finally got my necklace done and the blog post up, if you'd like to check it. I really had fun with this. Thanks for letting me participate. http://kayzkreationz.blogspot.com/2012/11/toast-of-town-michaels-blog-hop.html

Shai Williams said...

I am sad that I got so far behind on my blogs that I missed the sign up but it was probably a good thing. I am going in for surgery on my elbow on the 20th and I don't know when I would be back up to par.


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