Saturday, September 1, 2012

Challenge Of Travel Blog Hop

Hi Y'all,
Today is the reveal to Challenge of Travel Blog Hop hosted by Erin of Treasures Found blog and Marcie of La Bella Joya blog.  These two ladies put their heads together and thought up a fantastic blog hop of travel around the world inspired by the Olympics.   The Challenge goes like this... select a region of the planet that you do not live on and choose an inspiration nation from within that region (or better yet, have one chosen for you!).  I chose the continent of Africa and then I chose for Erin and Marcie to surprise me with a county, they chose for me Kenya.   So come along with me on a journey to Kenya.

The following photos, facts, and commentary is copied from The National Geographic website.

Map: Kenya

Fast Facts

Nairobi; 2,818,000
580,367 square kilometers (224,081 square miles)
English, Kiswahili, numerous indigenous languages
Protestant, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Muslim
Kenyan shilling
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,100
Literacy Percent:
The East African country of Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean to mountains and plateaus at its center. Most Kenyans live in the highlands, and Nairobi, the capital, is here at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet). Even though Nairobi is near the Equator, its high elevation brings cooler air. To the west of Nairobi the land descends to the north-south running Great Rift Valley—the valley floor is at its lowest near Lake Turkana in the deserts of northern Kenya. Around Lake Turkana, scientists have discovered some of humankind's earliest ancestors—a fossil known as Kenya Man was dated at 3.5 to 3.2 million years old.
Both free enterprise and a measure of political debate helped make Kenya one of Africa's most stable nations after it achieved independence from Britain in 1963. But, more recently, corruption has been an undermining force, and the government—pressured for reform—moved to a multiparty system in the late 1990s. Barriers to progress are high population growth, electricity shortages, and inefficiency in key sectors.
Forty ethnic groups, including Kikuyu farmers and Maasai cattle herders, crowd the countryside, still home to three-quarters of Kenya's people. Intense competition for arable land drives thousands to cities, where unemployment is high. In Nairobi, East Africa's commercial hub, skyscrapers abruptly give way to slums. The government has stepped up efforts to stem poaching, particularly of the elephant and black rhino. Tourism is essential to the economy, and Kenya is one of Africa's major safari destinations.

 Photo: Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve


Photograph by Jen Eudy, My Shot
Sunset falls on a Maasai boy on Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve.

Photo: Elephants crossing swamp

Amboseli National Reserve

Photograph by George Steinmetz
Watered by underground streams from Mount Kilimanjaro, the marshes and grasslands of Amboseli National Reserve provide a dry-season refuge for elephants that draw visitors to Kenya from all over the world. The savannas around Amboseli are also a battleground, where wide-ranging wildlife comes into conflict with growing numbers of Maasai and their cattle.
Photo: Giraffes walking through brush


Photograph by Mitch Walters, My Shot
Rapid growth in the number of people living just outside the unfenced Masai Mara National Reserve threatens its giraffes, which compete with livestock for a diminishing food supply. Scientists say the giraffe population has fallen by more than half over the last three decades.
 Photo: Lion walking past vultures along a river

African Lion

Photograph by Michael Nichols
A lion passes a row of vultures along a river's edge. The big cats once roamed most of the continent. Today they are found only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

This is the part of my piece that represents the large animals that can be found in the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Photo: Layers of colorful necklaces

Samburu Bride

Photograph by Annie Katz/Getty Images
Beaded necklaces coil around the neck and shoulders of a young Samburu bride. Worn during other important ceremonies as well, such elaborate ornaments can be handed down from mother to daughter for generations.
Photo: Two women standing outside hut

Maasai People

Photograph by Wietske van de Zande, My Shot
The Maasai people of East Africa have always gone their own way. For them, each 12-month span contains two years—a year of plenty, olaari, that coincides with the rainy season, followed by a year of hunger, olameyu, that begins when the rains end.

This is the part of my necklace that represents the Masai Samburu tribe.

When I was told that Kenya was going to be my country to get inspiration from the first thing I thought of was a bright color beaded collar, but alas there would not be enough time to do such an elaborate project so I settled for peyote ropes.  While I was doing my search on Kenya I came across a website that explained about the colors in the Masai peoples beaded jewelry. (copied from
For the Masai people the colours of the beadwork have special significance.

Red - danger, ferocity, bravery, strength, and it is the colour of the blood of the important cow that is slaughtered when the community comes together in celebration.

Blue - the sky and the water that gives the life to the grass and the cattle

Green - represents the land, the grass and health

Orange is the colour of hospitality.

Yellow Also suggests hospitality because it is the colour of the animal skins on guest beds.

White – Purity, health, peace and the colour of the important milk

Black - the people, hardships in life

In my piece I chose to use red, green, orange, blue, and yellow. Two of the peyote ropes are done in size 11 seed beads and the focal rope is done in red and green size 11 and orange, blue, and yellow in size 8 seed beads.
The carved animals were carved in Kenya, but were purchased from my local bead store High Strung Beads.  I used a copper toggle clasp copper is a metal that can be found in Kenya and is used to trade for goods. I used wooden beads in my piece to represent the forest in the mountainous areas of Kenya.

I made the bracelet using shells and amazonite to represent the coastal area of Kenya.

Well I hope you enjoy your trip to Kenya as much as I enjoyed taking you there. Now hop on board your next flight to your next destination by clicking on Erin's blog link here.  Who knows what wonders you will discover.

Happy trails to you until we meet again...



  1. This is such a lovely idea, Therese. The combination of info about Kenya and the matching jewelry you have made is stunning!!! Wonderful pics and great artwork, adorable. You did a great job!
    My dad had been to Kenya more than 40 years ago and was very impressed by the countryside and the people. Hopefully some things have not changed since that...

  2. Beautiful concept - love the bright colors with the wooden animals!

  3. Kenya is a Country that my late father ALWAYS wanted to visit, just did an wonderful post - I especially like the part where you inserted the meaning of each color - fascinating! Before I clicked on your blog, I knew your pieces would be stunning, and they are! You are such a talented artist! Fabulous job!

  4. What great pictures of Kenya. You certainly did a great post with a wealth of information. Thanks for sharing the color meanings. I love your fabulous necklace!

  5. I have always wanted to travel to Africa and Kenya with its wildlife and beautiful people is tops on my list! I am so very impressed with what you did to honor the Maasai beadwork and represent the beautiful African veldt. I had no idea about the colors of the beads, and that makes total sense. The fact that two of the colors represent hospitality makes it all the more inviting to travel there! I am truly blown away by how you chose to approach this challenge and I am so happy that you joined me on this virtual world tour. Now I need to go and get a passport because I would so love to visit this land! Enjoy the day! Erin

  6. These are awesome pieces Therese. I love the first one with the peyote rope and the wooden animals. I would love to know where you found these. I love your beadwork.

  7. From Phantom to Kenya! Therese these pieces are awesome! and you've captured the colors and spirit of the tribe! I LOVE it! Well done

  8. I have always been interested in, and love d the color exuberance of Maasai beadwork but never looked into the symbolism. Fantastic! Your beadwork is lovely, and what an appropriate touch that you were able to find carved animal beads from Kenya specifically. Lovely necklace, beautiful post!

  9. Therese~ you did a beautiful job of capturing the feeling of Kenya in your creation. Thank you for the interesting geography & culture lesson too.

  10. Thank you for the tour through Kenya. I love your peyote rope and I loved hearing about the significance of the colors. Your rope looks just like a part of the collar. Both pieces are just amazing!

  11. Your beadwork is always beautiful. You really captured the bride beads! Perfect!

  12. My sister just got back from a trip to Africa where they stayed in a preserve--maybe even the one you mention in your post. She came away inspired by both the animals and the people there.

    Your pieces are just fabulous! I love how the beaded rope adds brightness to the necklace, and the bracelet is just lovely!

  13. Wow! Therese just wow!
    I LOVE that necklace. reading about your inspiration is wonderful, you've done a great job representing the country.

  14. Hi Therese - you did such a wonderful post, both about the animals and people of Kenya! And both pieces are gorgeous in their representation of the country! Thank you for your wonderful post!

  15. Oh Therese, what a wonderful job you did of making a piece that really does reflect Kenya. . .at least the way I see it. I'm parked in front of the computer and TV today to catch up on blogs and watch me some football. I'm so glad to have finally caught up on what you've been up to. Now on to the rest. . .eek!
    Roll Tide!!

  16. Interesting background on the people of Kenya and the significance of Color in Maasai ewelry. Therese -the necklace is wonderful.! I love the carved animals.

  17. Your colorful beadwork did the Samburu proud! (and the rest of Kenya, too, of course)

  18. Wauw your pieces are wonderful! Lovely inspired by the animals! :)

  19. What a great blog hop! These photos are amazing. Interesting about the color meanings. Now I understand why you never see black in African clothing or jewelry! My ultimate dream vacation is an African safari which will have to wait until retirement! I love your African inspired designs. Gorgeous as always!

  20. Gorgeous, love the post, and your necklace captures so beautifully the majestic animals and the colorful jewelry of the people.

  21. I love how you incorporated the animals into your necklace.

  22. Your necklace rocks :) love love love it. great job.

  23. Therese, what an amazing necklace!! This is the way I love to travel!!

  24. What an incredible necklace! I just love how you honored your country.

  25. What a wonderful post and beautiful pictures. Your necklace is amazing, I love the beadwork and the carved animals.

  26. You really did your research and I totally want that gorgeous necklace! All those animals! You rocked this challenge!!!!

  27. Therese, as always, your beadwork is lovely, but I really love the research and respect for your inspiration country and its people that you included in each decision you made in its design. Terrific work!

  28. Therese, wouldn't you just love to see one of the bride collars in person! I always can't wait to come visit to see what you have created and I am never disappointed. The elephant picture has to be my favorite. I too love the explanation of colors. Beautiful work!

  29. THerese - this is an awesome post!!! I love all the info on Kenya, and the interesting bead information. But most of all -your piece is AMAZING!!!! You really captured your assigned country and I love it. It's a beautiful necklace! And I love the bracelet too! So simple yet, ethnic!

  30. What an absolutely awesome depiction. Beautiful, beautiful work and your story is great.

  31. Therese, thank you for sharing your travels. Your beading is exceptional and then to learn more about the meaning of the colors was exciting. Both pieces are beautiful! Very inspiring.

  32. Wow that necklace is soo cool. I love the colorful peyote ropes and then the wooden animals. Its is colorful, unique and definitely represents Kenya! You did a truly wonderful job with this challenge Therese.

  33. Oh my gosh, Therese, what a wonderful land you have shown us! It certainly deserves to be the tourist destination that it is. I love the photos you chose to show Kenya's geographic and cultural beauty, especially the iconic bathing elephants, and the unbelievably intricate beaded bride's necklace.

    As a non-beader, I'm not sure I can fully appreciate the amount of work it must be to produce those three ropes you have woven... but I know I like it! Paired with your distinctive carved animal beads, it is a powerful statement reflecting a land of amazing beauty and diversity. Thank you for taking me on this tour, Therese!

  34. Yummo...those animals are so cool.Love the colours in the necklace and the bracelet is very subtle but so pretty.Love and hugs Tanya

  35. Thanks for taking me on the tour! I love how your necklace came together. I'm a cat person, so it's always fun to see Lions incorporated, and so beautifully done

  36. Your necklace is amazing! I love how each section represents a different aspect of the culture, right down to the copper toggle. The carved animals are stunning works of art too! I also find the bracelet you created to represent the coastline wonderful as well.

    It is clear that the native people really take pride in their land. Both pieces pay a beautiful tribute to this amazing place.

  37. Your necklace is amazing! I love how each section represents a different aspect of the culture, right down to the copper toggle. The carved animals are stunning works of art too! I also find the bracelet you created to represent the coastline wonderful as well.

    It is clear that the native people really take pride in their land. Both pieces pay a beautiful tribute to this amazing place.

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