Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel

The wonderful Miss Erin is at it again.  Last year's Challenge of Travel was wonderful and we were all able to visit other places from the comfort of our own computers.  (You can see my entry here.)

This year, Erin changed it up on us.  She asked us to vacation at home.  Instead of researching a new city or country, we were to find new and exciting things in our own back yards.

Now, I live in the midwest -- in Kansas.  I have yet to meet someone who likes Kansas enough to vacation there.

I do, however, live in a suburb of Kansas City, which is a much bigger and more interesting town.

Most people think of barbecue when they think of Kansas City.  It's true -- visitors have their choice of amazing barbecue here.  You can sample GatesArthur Bryant'sOklahoma Joe's or Jack Stack and debate with the locals about which is better.

(For the record, my husband prefers Jack Stack while I am an Oklahoma Joe's girl.)

People don't know about the theater in Kansas City.  You can find the Lyric Opera, the Music Hall, the Unicorn Theater, the Starlight Theater, the American Heartland Theater, and the Kansas City Rep (that shows a great version of A Christmas Carol every year).

My favorite, though, is the Quality Hill Playhouse.  Quality Hill is a small theater.  The shows are musicals, generally featuring a wide variety of well known and little known music fitting a specific theme.  The host, J. Kent Barnhart is a wonderful talent in his own right and his one man biographical show is still one of the best I've seen.

Now that we have the kiddo, we have been attending the children's Coterie Theater a bit more.  :)

After the kiddo was born, we took advantage of the kid friendly sites of Kansas city.  We visited the Kansas City Zoo several times a month.

We walked around the Overland Park Arboretum and Powell Gardens.  (Most of the non-jewelry photos on this blog are taken on one of these two places.)

During the winter, we visited Science City in Union Station.

For this challenge, I tried to find a new aspect of Kansas City.

Did you know that Kansas City was the City of Fountains?  I kind of did, but had no idea the scope.  There are fountains all over the city and in many of the surrounding area.  I couldn't visit all of them, but decided to take a walking tour around the Plaza.

When I first moved here, I spent a great deal of time on the Plaza, but I never noticed the architecture or the abundance of fountains.  It was fun to spend time "getting to know" the Plaza a little better.

The first fountain you will see upon entering the Plaza is the JC Nichols Memorial fountain.

It is even more impressive at night.

Here is a close up of one of the horses and his rider.

Neptune is my favorite.

This organ grinder is not a fountain, but I still thought the statue was cute.

After my walking tour, I decided to create something inspired by fountains.

I started with this pendant from Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit. It looked so much like the scrolling detail on a fountain that I just "had" to use it.

I wanted to create a weathered chain.  Using the Persian Variations instructions from Blue Buddha, I created two chains of a rippled half persian 4-in-1.  Then, I left the the chains in an ammonia patina for a few days.


(If you are interested in chain maille, Blue Buddha is a great place to start.  I loved the Persian Variations instructions and would recommend it.  You do need to know how to do the basic Persian and half Persian weaves, though, before starting these.)

I then created a peyote spiral piece to link the chins together.

I used larger jumprings to join the pieces together and decorated them with stray seed beads.

Here is the finished product.  I really like it, but after completing it, I wondered if the pendant was too much.

Here it is without the pendant.  What do you think?

While the chains were soaking in their ammonia bath, I decided to create a bracelet.  I bounced between a few patterns and then remembered this pattern by Heather Collin.

Heather's "Crossing Over" bracelet was perfect because the strands of beads were moving in and out and over and under, like water in a fountain.

To mirror the stone base of a fountain, I used tan and off white beads for the base of the bracelet.  The blue beads shoot out from the base like water moving up from the fountain.

Heather's designs are a joy to bead and always produce something beautiful.  You can find more of Heather's designs in her etsy shop.

I was really pleased with the final product -- it looks so lush and opulent.

Erin, thank you for another wonderful challenge.  It was fun and I loved trying a few new things.

Please take a few minutes (or hours) to visit Erin's blog and learn about the home towns of the other participants.  You may even get the hankerin' to visit some of them.  :)


  1. it is great to have so many fountains around~moving water is so mesmerizing and soothing. Your jewelry~again, Wow! I love the look of the necklace with the pendant. The pendant just seems to round it out nicely. I like the lighter colors in it and how they go with the darker colors of the necklace. It is a nice contrast. And that Bracelet~how rich and elegant and layered and perfect! Just a beautiful piece all around.

  2. I love both necklace and bracelet, they really remind me of flowing water and fountains. I prefer the necklace with the pendant, it really combines perfectly with the spiral and chain.

  3. Oh my gosh! Both pieces are beautiful! I love the necklace with the pendant. I am always in awe of folks who work with seed beads. I don't think I have the patience for it, nor the eyesight. Simply stunning!

  4. Your jewelry is beautiful and the pictures of your hometown are just wonderful. I enjoyed your post very much!

  5. These are amazing pieces, Tanya... I just want to reach out and touch the amazing textures! As to your necklace, I think it's wonderful that you can wear it with or without the pendant. Both ways look awesome!

    Your city is beautiful and a fabulous inspiration!

  6. Love how you've translated the beauty and motion of the fountains into these pieces. Your necklace is gorgeous with or without the focal, but I would wear it with the pendant - such a strong visual! And I so agree with you about Heather Collin's tutorials - I stitched up "Crossing Over" as a birthday present for my sister last year and I love how you've interpreted the pattern here. Yout extra touches are just fantastic!

  7. Gorgeous pieces, I really like the necklace with the pendant!

  8. Both pieces are just gorgeous! I think I liked the necklace with the pendant :) The bracelet is divine - I like how it is moving in and out and over and under! Fantastic work on both!

  9. We love Jack Stack BBQ and eat it when we get the chance to show at First Fridays--which is few and far between nowdays.
    I love how you found the perfect pendant to represent KC's wonderful fountains!

  10. Oh my goodness. I usually avoid seedbead work because it doesn't suit my personal style but absolutely love how you blended chain with it. And that bracelet is incredible!

  11. Wow....first I want to say that you painted an absolutely lovely picture of Kansas City! Their tourism board should hire you! I love your necklace...and gosh - that bracelet is spectacular. You really captured the fountain-y water feel of KC! (and for the record I'm marching over to Heather's site right now to treat myself to that pattern!)

  12. I like the necklace better with the pendant. I really love what you did there, combining beadweaving and chainmaille. The bracelet is gorgeous too!

  13. I love fountains, and both of your pieces are wonderful representations. I like the necklace better with the pendant - not too much at all. I love the bead weaving, chainmaille and pendant together. Perfect.

  14. I love that there is more to look at your pieces the more you look at them! Definitely think the pendant combines beautifully with what you have done. And a fountain of lovely descriptions.

  15. Beautiful beautiful necklace and absolutely gorgeous bracelet!

  16. Fabulous post - you completely drew me in with the story of your town. Kansas has so much to offer and it was great to read of all the attractions to entice. Love your designs for the challenge - just perfect!

  17. Fab jewellery! I can really see the connection to your theme, the city of fountains. As for the necklace I don't think it's too much at all (and I'm scandinavian which usually means a penchant for sleek and simple designs).

    Thaks for letting me learn something of a city I've never known anything about before!

  18. So wonderful! I am always amazed by artists who do chain maille and seed beading. I can never still still long enough but I love the results.

  19. Wow, there is so much to do in Kansas........who knew!!! And barbeque too! I may leave tomorrow for a long visit (LOL). Serious now, I do love your idea and your interpretation of the play of water in the fountains. That necklace is beautiful no matter which way it is worn.

  20. A city of fountains - how wonderful is that! I love your mix of textures and techniques to create two great water/fountain inspired pieces. That necklace looks great with or without the pendant, but I love the pendant (have a couple of those in my stash) and think you made a perfect setting for it. Two great pieces. Andrea

  21. Your city sounds like a fun place to live and I think the necklace and bracelet you created are beautiful! I like the necklace with the pendant BTW.

  22. One word: spectacular! Seriously, both pieces are gorgeous, gorgeous. I like the pendant on the necklace but then I'm a fan of statement jewelry and elongated necklaces. And the bracelet! Your weaving skills and color selections are wonderful. I'm not a fan of seed beads because they are too small for me to work with easily but after seeing that bracelet, I might reconsider.

  23. Love both pieces! I think Heather's Crossing Over bracelet fit your theme absolutely perfectly! PLUS the colors you chose are outstanding! Gorgeous designs my friend! Thanks for the virtual tour of your own hometown!

    Have an amazing weekend!

  24. You captured the beauty of the fountains perfectly in both pieces of jewelry. Thanks so much for showing a part of the country so many people will never think of to see, but so worth it.

  25. I did not know about all of the fountains.

    I love love love your bracelet!
    And I would be hard pressed to decide with or without that lovely pendant. Maybe decide depending on what you wear the necklace with?

  26. And I didn't jump into this challenge because I couldn't think of anything that wasn't a cliche to do about KS! ha! Just as well I didn't! You have found the Italian fountains of KC as your inspiration! And I love that you focused on water in the middle of a hot dry summer!

    Both pieces of jewelry are more beautiful than anything I could imagine! That bracelet is beyond words! I love the necklace both ways, but think I like it best with the pendant attached. My oh my, if I didn't live here, think I'd come for a visit after all! (And that's the only time you'll hear me say that!) ha!

  27. Well, I have actually been to your fair city! The fountains are really quite wonderful. I loved shopping in the Plaza! As I recall I was there when I turned 40 in 2008 for a trade show and I sought out a little store that made custom purses. I still have that one! And the food was great there! I have been to Jack Stack. MMMmmmm good! I love the two things you made. I see the water reference and the flowing of the water. I particularly love that necklace could be worn two ways. I think that would be a great selling point! And that bracelet! A-MAZ-ING! I could never do that sort of thing as it looks like I would want to poke my eyes out with those tiny beads, so I really appreciate it! Thank you so much for taking us on a tour of Kansas City and for joining me on this Challenge! I am sorry that it took me so long to come and visit, I was so swamped with this three-day fundraiser last weekend and I wanted to be sure I had time to really visit. You can fluff up the guest pillows because I would love to come back to KC! Enjoy the day. Erin