Saturday, 17 September 2011

It's party time!




I hope you've been looking forward to today. It's the day of the big reveal. 362 bloggers from around the world showing what they've made with their bead soups. For a full list of participants and links to their blogs, please see Friday's post or the BSBP site.

Every participant has been paired up with a partner to swap a mouth-watering and inspiring batch of bead soup to. Each soup had to include a focal and a fancy clasp -- which were mandatory to use -- and some matching beads and components. My partner was Sue of Hello Gorgeous in Wales, who sent me this lovely and challenging soup, which also included candy from Pwllheli (which I ate before I thought of taking photos of the whole package!) and dragons: a coaster and pin. I love dragons.




What I especially liked about my soup was the blend of things I like and things I don't use very often. I love autumn colours and -- this I hadn't told Sue -- soosho/tri-colour jade is one of the relatively few stone beads I really, really enjoy working with. On the other hand, the beads were big. I often go for the more dainty sizes even if I wish I would try bigger beads sometimes. So that was a big unusual, trying to design with larger beads than normal. The focal had colours and patterns that really spoke to me. It's not the type of focal I usually work with, but I fell for it instantly. And finally, the silver clasp. I rarely work with silver. A price issue of cause, but also because I prefer the colour of brass, copper and blackened metal. I also rarely work with this type of big focal toggle clasps -- and it was the clasp that was the toughest thing to design for.

I ended up making two pieces as I felt the clasp would do nice as a focal itself. It might have worked in the same piece as the shell focal without the two trying to overpower each other, but I made the easy choice of separating them into two projects. First I made a necklace:




For this necklace, I linked the "jade" rounds with oxidized brass heart links. While I knew pretty much from the start that I wanted to link rather than string the stone beads, it took a long time before I settled with this design. I tried so many things, but in the end I felt it was best to keep it simple. And anyway, battling with my natural impulse to work symmetrically (which I wrote about here), it still took some time to do as I kept reorganizing the order of the beads. Again and again. Ending with a compromise of sorts: it's a very tame asymmetry in colours in that necklace.




I also linked the focal to one of  the heart links. The focal has an oxidized brass rose tied to the centre hole and a bead dangling from the bottom to add weight and stability.




I added twist threads to either side of the bead chain for two reasons: 1) I ran out of beads and brass links. 2) I didn't want any big beads in the back. It's not comfortable -- and I had found some silky thread in by yarn and ribbon bag, which matched the shell focal perfectly in colour. Fearing adding other beads would disturb the design, fibre felt like a better solution than adding beads and links in a different shape and size.

I'm not sure whether I'll keep the ends dangling like that. At one point I wanted to just have the twisted cord and use it as closure, tying a nice bow in the back. But the beads are so heavy I feared the silky cord just wasn't going to work. Instead I added crimp ends and a simple little brass s-hook. I still have the cord end, which I can tie over the clasp. But should I keep them or not? What do you -- who actually reads all this text, not just look at the pictures -- think? I'd love to hear it.

With this design it's really hard to get a good photo unless you hang the necklace up. On a model or something else, just not lay it flat. That's also why there's a towel in the last photo: I needed something with pile to keep the beads from rolling away.

So that was the necklace. What happened with the clasp?




Oh, how many times have I re-made this one? At first I found the perfect beads. At least when it came to material: the vesuvianite looked fab against the silver. But I only had some chips and no idea incorporating them worked. Moving on. I wanted really bad to use the smoky beads eventhough I didn't have to. I think that hampered me as I focused on just using semi-precious when it really isn't something I use very often. Then finally overcame that hurdle and opted for fire-polished, reflecting the facets in the quartz beads. But, again, didn't really work. In the end, I got back to just using the only smokey quartz beads I have in my stash, interspersed with sterling silver beads. And I lost one of the bead soup beads in the process. It disappeared without a trace! I've looked everywhere. Well, I guess the cats will find it sooner or later...




Before I end, I must show Goch. He's the dragon I got from Sue and of cause he wanted some bling too so I gave hime a necklace made from a scrap of gold-filled dainty chain and an abused gold-plated crimp cover. (The coaster he's sitting on is also a gift from Sue.)

~*~

Wondering where to go next? My suggestion would be the fabulous and generous hostess of this blog party, Lori Anderson, and my likewise fabulous partner Sue Hodgkinson. Below is a pic that will give you an idea about what Sue had to work with. A complete list of participants can be found on Lori's blog.


92 comments:

  1. I really love both of your pieces - I would absolutely wear that necklace. I totally love that you made your little dragon a necklace too :)

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  2. I really love those little heart links...they are gorgeous and look so good with the colour of the beads....I am making a list of good ideas as I go along and that is one of them. IMO I think I would put a clasp..even if just hook and eye for strength and safety, rather than risk loosing your necklace.
    Jenni

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  3. hey gorgeous, today's the day!! exciting! I hope I have done your soup some justice....it really IS a challenge when the soup is not your usual form of play....Lori definitely knew we would be challenged...I love it!

    Fabulous creations, I love the necklace you have created and would definitely keep it as a "tie-up" I love the thought of longer or shorter depending on how you feel on the day!

    The bracelet is pretty neat too....the colour is fab with the clasp...this is one of my favourite clasps as it is a very tactile.

    I am glad you were challenged by the soup and ultimately had some fun creating.

    Happy blog-hopping! ;o)

    hugs

    hello gorgeous xxx

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  4. So cool - and those little heart links - amazing!

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  5. I love the pieces you made with your soup, especially the bracelet - what an awesome toggle clasp!
    Deb x

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  6. Amazing! I love those wire heart links. What a good idea! I think you were right about not using large beads all the way around the necklace. Comfort is just as important as beauty! I do think you were right to use that clasp separately on a bracelet--it really shines there.

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  7. Hi fellow essayist! I loved reading your process!

    Love your pieces, and I love the way you linked the gemstones in your necklace. and that bracelet is drop-dead gorgeous! Nice work!

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  8. The smokey quartz against the silver delivers a stunning bracelet! Also, love the flow of colors in your perfectly linked necklace.

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  9. You should work with bigger beads more -- your pieces are really lovely! And the dragon necklace is a great touch!

    Bobbie

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  10. Kristina, two great pieces! I must say those heart links really intrigue me also (like a few before me here). And your subtle assymetry works well. Smokey quartz with silver - nice combo!

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  11. I love your little heart links. Really makes the focal and beads stand out. And I personally like the cord dangling in the back from the clasp, but that's just me. And the clasp and bracelet is gorgeous. Very nice. Cute little dragon and bling for him, too. :)

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  12. Thanks for your comments!

    I think the colours in the necklace are really me, my usual style, but I had to struggle a bit with the bracelet: my normal reflex is to add copper or brass to all things brown... Looks very different with silver. More sophisticated in a way (i.e. not me *lol*).

    As for the heart links. If anyone's looking for them I got them att brassbouquet.com in the US. She calls them heart curlz. The oval jump rings are also from the same shop. She has charms in a similar style too, called heart-lets.

    And now I'll just do a few more blogs and then I must get som sleep -- it's almost midnight over here by now.

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  13. I too struggle with a desire to work symmetrically. I love what you came up with!

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  14. Gillar armbandet skarpt! De olika päelorna och stenarna i sammma färgskala ger det hela en elegans :D

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  15. They are both beautiful pieces, and the focal on the first is just gorgeous!

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  16. The necklace has a nice flow, thanks to those cute heart links!

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  17. That is such a beautiful necklace! I think the S hook is a good idea. Not sure if adding the cord end back onto it would work or not. Could you try it and show a pic? Whichever you decide, it a wonderful design, one to be proud of!

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  18. Your necklace is beautiful but I LOVE the bracelet...that clasp is amazing and your beads go so well with it...great job.

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  19. I am SO sorry for being late — today our internet provider decided to crash. My stress level is through the roof, to say the least! They’re still working on it, but it’s like dial-up.

    I love those little heart links you did! And that toggle is awesome -- I have one I'm hoarding -- they're so expensive now! Cherish that bracelet!

    I hope you’ll participate again!

    Love, Lori

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  20. Very lovely and elegant pieces, really really pretty! I'm so afraid of wearing anything tied, because I'm very hard on my own jewelry, and really envy people who can pull it off. So I'd vote for a permanent clasp.

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  21. Tack så mycket för shoppingtipset!!!!

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  22. OMGoodness...your soup is DELICIOUS my Friend!!! I adore your design, it's truly stunning! Well done, another AMAZING cup of BEAD SOUP from a very talented designer!!! ;)

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  23. OMG ! How cute is that tiny dragon necklace? Love what you did simple yet beautidul! Happy Hopping!!!

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  24. Great work! I love that you made little heart shaped links in your first piece. Love that smoky quartz with that beautiful heart clasp!

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  25. Droolworthy! Your pieces are both beautiful. I love the flow of color and texture. Congrats.

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  26. A wonderful bracelet - something I would immediatly wear!
    Greetings, Michi

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  27. Linking rather than stringing was a brilliant choice and the heart links really make a nice complement. The bracelet is breautiful and very soothing.

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  28. I love the addition of the twisted silk threds. An unexpected element that complements it beautifully. The bracelet is gorgeous too!

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  29. I'm slowing making my way through bead soup also. Love that pendant and you used it in such a classic manner that really suits it. A timeless piece. Your bracelet is beautiful also.

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  30. Love, Love, LOVE! the little heart links in your necklace. Perfect touch. It is a beautiful piece and you should be very proud.

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  31. You did a great job with your soup. I love the design n color.

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  32. Lovely work--I especially love the dainty little heart links and the bracelet.

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  33. Fabulous necklace... and I love how you used it as the banner at the top of your post... it is like a big warm welcome to the party!

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  34. I love both of your designs! Adding the heart shaped wire worked links really was a nice detail! Great job!

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  35. Amazing work! Love the heart links and the bracelet is very yummy.

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  36. Stunning clasp, love the bracelet.

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  37. Wonderful! You have created a terrific piece of wearable art. I like your use of the wire heart links and the simplicity of the necklace. Just my style! Thank you for sharing your artistic process along the way. Cheers!
    Lori

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  38. Both of your pieces are just fabulous. I'm not usually a fan of hearts but your heart links are really very cool. They work into your necklace perfectly! I would wear it in a heartbeat (pardon the pun.)

    The bracelet you made with the clasp is equally beautiful. It's so elegant and just. . .pretty!
    Well done, VERY well done!

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  39. That bracelet is truly fantastic. Kudos to you for letting the gorgeous clasp take center stage and setting it off to perfection with your accent beads without overwhelming it. The necklace is lovely, too. Perfect for fall!

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  40. Your little touches shine through, the heart links adorable. I really like the clasp and how you featured it. I haven't made many bracelets...think I need to start! Thanks for visiting my soup...I am still working my way through all of them! Oreo is my best helper--she is such a sweet little kitty.

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  41. I am so sorry for being so late my computer was resisting too labor intensive:^)Very nice designs. And there is still time to sign up for the give-away, Just go to SandysColoringBox.blogspot.com Sept.16th blog and leave a comment
    Be blessed to be a blessing

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  42. Lovely pieces - your details are amazing!

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  43. Love what you did with your soup and love those heart links!

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  44. Wow! I love your pieces, the bracelet is to die for, and I especially like the dragon necklace :-)

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  45. I really like how you used the heart links on your necklace, and love how you used the clasp as a focal on your bracelet!

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  46. Those brass heart links are amazing! My fave is the bracelet, the toggle really looks great as the focal and toggle.

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  47. That necklace is just wonderful! The heart links are incredible, you have such talent! And the bracelet is a perfect way to showcase that gorgeous clasp!

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  48. Absolutely stunning! I love your creations!

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  49. stunning pieces I just love the colours, right up my alley...and your necklace is wonderful I love the heart links....

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  50. what beautiful creations! The necklace is so classic and stunning.

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  51. Such lovely pieces from a rich soup mix. The necklace is so wearable, and I love that bracelet and clasp - beautiful!

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  52. beautiful design. I love the simplicity. I'm also a heart fan, so adore the little heart wire connectors you added. I agree with other that I would add a clasp rather than the ties.

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  53. I love the little heart connectors you made, they look great in the whole design!

    Ambra

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  54. Beautiful necklace design. Te heart links are a nice touch. The bracelet with that heart toggle really makes it! Gorgeous pieces....Soup-er Job!

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  55. Both pieces are beautiful, I especially like the bracelet. Well done.

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  56. I love them all. The heart links are so sweet! Well done! ;)

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  57. Georgeous pieces, both! My favorite is the necklace, to me it's perfect just the way it is - I would keep both, the little hook clasp (for security) and the cord ends (for fun). The jade beads are to die for. Lucky you!

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  58. Love your necklace the hearts go perfect with your focal.

    JUST LOVELY!

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  59. Elegant necklace! I love the subtle asymmetry with the colors. The heart links are adorable and work so well with the other elements. I never thought of combining cool smoky brown with silver but it works so well. And you even made a little necklace for the Welsh dragon. How fun is that!

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  60. Thanks for all you comments! I really appreciate them, no matter how long or short (I know someo of you are feeling a bit of hopping/commenting fatigue by now).

    Myself, I'll continue hopping tomorrow. Have just under half of the blogs left to visit! *phew*

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  61. I do love the Autumn colors in your necklace and that dragon is darn cute, but my favorite is your gorgeous smokey quartz and leaf bracelet, so sophisticated!

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  62. Lovely simply stated elegance. Great job!! And the dragon necklace is just too cute.

    Terri

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  63. your pieces are so wearable and gorgeous and have great color!

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  64. I love the little heart links in the necklace,both pieces are really nice

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  65. Love tje brass rose, the jade colors and your heart links on the necklace...just beautiful. The smoky quartz bracelet with the heat toggle...just gorgeous.

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  66. The heart links are genius and I love the subtle addition of the rose.

    Beautiful work!

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  67. Love that toggle and focal! Your necklace and bracelet are gorgeous!

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  68. Love those heart links! Very pretty! I like the autumn colors as well.

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  69. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, I am still trying to work my way through lots of blogs, having major problems with my pc has slowed down the whole process.
    I love your creations, beautiful autumn shades and the clasp looks amazing in the bracelet.

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  70. I really love both of your pieces (and that you let the clasp be a focal, so perfect!). I also appreciate your taking us through the design process. I really love that! Thanks for great soup!

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  71. Lovely pieces! I'm in love with those heart links and that heart clasp -- your designs showcase these components so beautifully!

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  72. I love your work. Beautiful bracelet. You are so talent.!!

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  73. Oh my, SO beautiful and delicate. And those heart links are just amazing! Wonderful job on all the pieces...

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  74. Love the pieces, I favor the bracelet, very nice work.

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  75. I love the heart links, and you are right, the clasp does real well as a focal. I would have done the same thing. Good job!

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  76. Wow! I so love your pieces! I would wear them all the time! Seriously.
    Those brass links are very cute and the bracelet is to die for!
    I have also to say that your pictures look amazing and I wish I could learn someday to do photo editing.

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  77. Beautiful pieces! Love the focal and how you added the heart links in between the beads. My favourite is the bracelet - that clasp is gorgeous :)Well done!
    Geanina.

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  78. Well Sue certainly did her best to present you with some challenges!! You did a wonderful job and you definitely handled the challenge beautifully! Now you know that you can work very well with bigger beads!! Love the dragon bling!! It is always a good idea to keep one's dragons very happy!!!:)

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  79. Beautiful! Simple and elegant in appearance - isn't it interesting how those can be some of the most difficult to design?

    I love the way the heart links in the first necklace softly compliment the curves in they focal. And the clasp definitely works better in it's own design!

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  80. Thank you, all! I'm glad to hear you like them.

    I've learned two things from this experience: a) asymmetry is something I need to work more with (come back on the 4th and I'll say some more about that) and b)I'm an "idea first" kind of girl rather than a "bead first", but still I enjoy bead soups both because of the gift giving and surprise. And the big hop hasn't deterred me from signing up for more blog parties/blog hops.

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  81. Both pieces are beautiful, but I think the bracelet is my favorite. Those colors are lovely with the clasp.

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  82. Love the pieces you've made.
    They are stunning!

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  83. Beautiful pieces you've made and I love your heart links. NIce!

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  84. Beautiful! I LOVE the little heart links! they work fabulously with the focal :)

    Oh and Goch's 'bling' looks fab on him too ;)

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  85. Thank you!

    I love my dragons so of cause they need a bit of attention too. ;)

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  86. Very pretty. I have to say, your final choice for the bracelet really sets off that beautiful toggle.

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  87. ahA ! I WAS here for the BSBP already! As soon as I saw Goch I knew it was familiar :) I still think after making it just shy of a third of the way through the list, that both your necklace and bracelet are among my favorites :) I'm not one for big beads either, but you worked them beautifully :)

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  88. Thanks! Yeah, it's not always easy to keep track of all the blogs when doing big hops. Or even relatively small hops. I probably revisited a handful of blogs not knowing I'd already been there last time I hopped...

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A few words can mean so much. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

PS! Feel free to email me if you don't want to comment publicly -- look under Contact (under the header)

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