Challenge of Travel Blog Hop

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Erin of Tesori Trovati is hosting her 2nd Challenge of Travel Blog Hop today.  Erin challenged us to have a Staycation and find something inspiring to share about our town.

Welcome to South Haven, Michigan - a tiny tourist town on the shores of Lake Michigan.  We are famous for our beautiful sandy beaches and amazing sunsets scheduled every night!  You can walk our entire downtown in less than 10 minutes, although the cute shops may have you stopping to linger over their goods.  In the heart of downtown from April until October is the Farmer's Market and that is the start of today's Staycation Inspiration for me.  

While our town caters to visitors year round, we really shine from Memorial Day to Labor Day when our population swells with city-weary souls looking for some quite time, hints of yesteryear and a place to breathe. 

As a new resident of this place and a bone-a-fide country girl now I've taken notice this year of our under appreciated farmers.  I've watched as empty fields came to life this spring, as markets filled up with goodies and upick farms filled with tourists and locals alike.  I've been inspired by a book called the Feast Nearby about a woman who lived in a Southwest Michigan community and her quest to eat local all year round. I have been so enjoying the harvest of our local farms, as summer ends I find myself wanted to capture all of it to savor over the fall and winter seasons  This has led me to explore freezing produce, making jam and very curious about learning to can my own food.  And also discovering the joy of taking part in harvesting our own food at local upick farms.  We picked blueberries last week and peaches and apples are up next.  

So my inspiration are those farms and more specific - blueberry farms.  South Haven is the self-proclaimed Blueberry Capital and hosts the National Blueberry Festival every August - actually during my birthday - so of course I'm going to love it.  For my jewelry inspired by the farms of my home town, I first went with the color palette of blueberries - the rich blues, purples, greens and brown that you see in the fields.  And then I mixed in feathered friends - or maybe more like enemies to the farmers - bits of sparkly ribbon are tied in the bushes to keep the birds away.  

My first necklace features a Green Girl Studio pendant, on the back it reads, "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." While farming and gardening is dirty, hard work there is a beauty to it's rustic simplicity and it must be a love for those who work the land.  I included a 'dream' bead by Diane Hawkey because living here is a dream come true for me.  I pined for 10 long years for my sweet hometown here in Michigan. This necklace has a ceramic nugget also from Diane and one of my copper branch disk beads.  Tiny glass beads in the navy hues of fresh blueberries dot the gunmetal jump rings and chain.

These earrings grab hold of that abundant feeling of fields of berries.

Wherever there are berries, birds are not far! For this necklace I have a pendant filled with art beads from top to bottom: Green Girl Studio, Earthenwood Studios, Sharon Pribble, Thornburg Studio and a Humblebead Leaf.  Diane Hawkey, Earthenwood Studio and Sharon Pribble are also all Michigan girls.  Shop local!

I love these flowers from Vintage Meadow.  Blueberries turn the loveliest shades of purple when cooked down and stirred in yogurt.  I paired them with a collection of bead caps and glass..  

Living in an area where there is a farm in every direction I can attest to one thing - farms are peaceful! But breathing and farms are even more practical - all that vegetation clean and purify the air we breathe.  Hence the term - fresh country air.  Of course that doesn't apply to when fertilizer comes into the picture - but we won't dwell on that fresh country air.  I added an owl to this necklace to represent that down home wisdom that farmers pass from generation to generation.  The beads: Green Girl Studio, Humblebeads, Golem Designs and Tesori Trovati. 

Similar theme but for me, adding in the crow symbolizes how we will always have challenges to face - much like those farmers who must contend with birds.  There is one farm that has a cannon like noise that goes off every 10 minutes or so to scare the birds out of his peach trees! So when those little rascals known as life's problems start pestering you, just breath and come up with a plan to stay productive and keep them at bay!

Beads: Humblebeads and Diane Hawkey.

I think this is my favorite of the bunch - the back of the pendant reads: "Love feathers the nest." I created a wire nest to rest above the bird. So sweet and adorable, the little bird pendant from Tesori Trovati mixed in the Vintage Meadow, Humbleabeads and Thornburg Studio.

And lastly, a pair of simple earrings carrying the same color palette of those blueberries fields that are almost bare by now!

Visit Erin's blog to see what other designers created inspired by their hometowns!

If you'd like to join me in South Haven this fall to see what all the fuss is about join me for my annual Inspired by Nature Retreat.  


That sunset is breathtaking.

That sunset is breathtaking. I think you get all the beauteous sunsets on your side of the Lake!
Thanks for the tour. Reminds me so much what I liked about SH when I was there for your class.
Your designs are all so pretty and perfectly showcase your dream "home"!

I can't wait to visit there again!

I love South Haven! Not just because you live there, but for its awesome beauty and earthiness! From the shores of Lake Michigan to the farms just down the road, this is a magical, special place. I can't wait to visit again, hopefully in October for the Inspired by Nature retreat (still working on that).

All these marvelous pieces. You really outdid yourself! I struggled to get my one done. And those Simple Truths! I completely forgot about them! I will have to resurrect them. They feel so right for your designs. I almost didn't realize I made the bird until you mentioned it was mine! LOL!

Thank you for sharing South Haven with all of us. I enjoyed the journey with you!
Enjoy the day.

You did out do yourself on

You did out do yourself on this challenge. I love everything you made.215

Oh what beautiful work you

Oh what beautiful work you have created. I am not sure what my favorite is! I am so looking forward to has been a few years since we traveled your coast. You have my creative juices to the workroom I go!!


Wow, you really were on a roll here! I love your creations, they are all so wonderfully earthy. And of course I love blueberries too (who doesn't?)! Just earlier this evening I enjoyed a glass of blueberry punch, wish I could have shared with you. ;D

Challenge of Travel Blog Hop | Humblebeads

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You were so prolific for this hop Heather! Each piece and the symbolism behind it is just inspiring. What a beautiful place you live in!

Each one a work of art

I love each piece you have offered, Heather... I agree with your assessment of farmers as under-appreciated (hear, hear). So pleased to see you reflecting on these beautiful themes so successfully in your designs!


Wow, Heather - I love everything you've created. Your inspiration/staycation is so beautiful & makes me want to visit your little town. I think we are heading to Minnesota this fall - but our next Midwest trip may include that beautiful town & area you call home! You are definitely a wonderful goodwill ambassador for your home! Thanks for sharing.


Wow, Heather - I love everything you've created. Your inspiration/staycation is so beautiful & makes me want to visit your little town. I think we are heading to Minnesota this fall - but our next Midwest trip may include that beautiful town & area you call home! You are definitely a wonderful goodwill ambassador for your home! Thanks for sharing.

wow - what a collection!

Such thoughtful designs in response to your surroundings !
Gorgeous collection Heather !

What a fabulous array of

What a fabulous array of pieces Heather! Loved them all and the way they were anchored in your home. Especially loved the crushed berry earrings!


I do love your style and I love all of these pieces. I really like the first few blueberry inspired pieces .. such a gorgeous shade of blue.

Blueberries, yummy

Blueberries are my favourite fruit. Picked them in the wild as a youngster with my parents while they watched for bears. Love how you captured the variations of colour in the fruit and fields. I give hats off to farmers as well; grew up in a rural area with lots of hard working farmers whose numbers have definitely dwindled. I love buying local produce as well.


What a gorgeous collection Heather! I love how you've combined the various artbeads.

Your blog

Pictures are stunning and the jewelry is outstanding! great job!

What a wonderful collection

What a wonderful collection of jewelry and so well matching the beautiful landscapes surrounding you.
Thank you for sharing such beauty and inspiration.

What a wonderful collection

What a wonderful collection of jewelry and matching so well the places you showed. Thank you for sharing so much beauty and inspiration.

Absolutely gorgeous - you

Absolutely gorgeous - you enticed and entranced with both your designs and the story behind your fabulous home. Would love to visit there one day. Thank you for sharing!

Challenge of Travel

Everything you created is beautiful! I love the variety of artisan beads, combined with your own-they really make the pieces shine. I also really like the layering that you did on the earrings with the glass flowers and bead caps. It sounds and looks like your hometown has been inspiring your creativity in many wonderful ways!


I love all the pieces you made. Each one is as beautiful as the next. I like how you incorporated the good with the challenges from the inspiration. It's really fun to see what everyone makes and I never tire of looking at your art!

Oh wow! You got so many

Oh wow! You got so many pieces made to represent your hometown. I really love them all, but both your 'breathe' and 'dream' necklaces call out to me for some reason. As well, those stacked flower, slightly purple, earrings are something special too. Fabulous work as always!!

OH my!

Such lovely work!

Gotta love all those wonderful country smells too!


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