Thursday, May 31, 2012

Story Telling Thru Jewelry & an Earring Swap!

Yes, I was fairly busy this month. Seems I decided to participate in TWO ... well, not contests, but areas that stretched me a bit. Now, to some of you, doing two jewelry swaps/creative call-outs/participating in more than one thing may not be a stretch. For me, it is.  I'm the sort who sits down and plays with the elements on my table until my Crazy Creativity gives birth and something pops out.  That may not always happen the first time I sit down.  Or the second.  Or third or fourth or.... you get the idea.  I usually make something but not necessarily anything I'd want anyone to see.  We've all been there. We call it "repurposing" when we rip it apart and start over :D   So, I've got two items to share with you today.  We'll start with Erin's challenge.

I joined in with Erin over at Treasures Found to tell a story (or, in my case poem) thru jewelry. Erin was kind enough to let me use one of my military poems as inspiration for my piece.  I was able to go to Oahu with my family last summer and we went to visit the Arizona at Pearl Harbor. I'm not sure how any American can visit there, go thru the museum and then out to the Arizona, and not be touched by what happened. By what our men gave that day and all the days after.  My focal piece was a large lampwork bead that I scoured Esty for only to finally discover over at sky valley beads.  The rest are beads from Michael's or Hobby Lobby, but that one focal from sky valley just brought out what I was looking for. When you're on the Arizona Memorial, you can still see oil seeping up from below. A drop at a time every few minutes.  Even on days when the water's not calm, it's hard to miss those drops.  Those tears.  I think, even tho' it wasn't intended, sky valley perfectly captured what looks like that swirl of oil from the Arizona.
So here, once again, is the poem that was inspired by that visit and, in turn, inspired the jewelry:

Tears From The Deep
Tears are still wept, tho' the heart's made of steel,
For men nigh forgot tho' a Nation should feel.
They died in a war, tho' no battle fought they,
On what became known as an Infamous Day.

Tears from the Deep, tho' the heartbeat is cold,
For valorous men who will never grow old.
Entombed in the dark, by water enshrined,
Stood ready 'gainst all, by Freedom defined.

Tho' many have come, so few shed a tear.
They call to us, now, do the whisper you hear?
They are the reason this Nation stood fast!
The weeping, so soft, do you hear it at last?

Tears are still wept to help us recall,
Tho' few still remember they gave us their all;
From way down below, to the Oceans' safe keep,
Seeping up for reminders are Tears from the Deep.

© Copyright 2011 Pam Sears. All rights reserved.
Full view

Close up of focal ~ vivid expression of those "tears"

I chose the squares to represent the ocean in all it's colors and
the black oil slick swirls to represent... well... the flowing oil

the small rounds actually have an "oil slick" reflection that
didn't photograph too well. The red jasper tear shapes are for
the blood spilled and the silver wire I hammered are for both
the waves and the ships that rode them into battle.

We must never forget
Here's the rest of the participants.  Make sure you scroll all the way down past them to see the second activity I participated in (once you're done looking at what everyone else did, that is!):

Erin Prais-Hintz (story hostess!)
Pam Sears (you are *here!*)
And now, the 2nd quest (I guess is the best way to phrase it... since I'm crazy anyway! haHA!) was an earring swap hosted by Diana at Suburban Girl Studio.  We signed up and were paired up with two other ladies for whom we made earrings and mailed them off. A swap!  Not only did we have to come up with something for ladies we didn't know, we got something wonderful in return. Their beautiful efforts!  I was paired up with Amy over at Copper Diem and Lisa from Whimsy's Wonders.   Here's what I sent to the individual ladies (I'm sure they have theirs by now):
The ceramic discs were made by Chinook Jewelry for a
challenge by Michelle Mach and I loved them so much I
went to Chinook and bought a few more. Just LOVE them!

I wanted to have both cool and warm
off-setting each other.

I wanted a Moroccan/Middle Eastern slant
on this pair. The orange beads at the bottom
were made by Sue from Sue Beads and I've
been hoarding them for MONTHS!

I used gold, purple & teal to
accent the sari silk and bring
in the Moroccan/Middle
Eastern Vibe.
...and what did I get, you might ask?  Well, from Amy I received these lovely earrings. I just love how delicate they are! Makes me feel so feminine!

Plus, I love red and these add the perfect touch when I want a soft, sweet accent.  From Lisa? Well, Lisa got hit hard by Life (don't we all from time to time? Eh?) and is a weeeee bit behind. But she assured me, the last time we "talked" (emailed, whatever ~snerk~) she was mailing them out asap!  Since she has family and Life gets in the way no matter how well we plan, I'll just make sure to let you know as soon as they come in (which, know Life and Its sense of humor, will be when I get off work tomorrow evening! ha!) and will post pics of them.
Sorry, this was such a long post, but I didn't realize, when I signed up for both of these, that the reveal dates were the SAME date! Ah, well. Such is Life (haven't we already covered that!?)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Where Are The Tears?

I wrote two posts last year on my blog Minstrals & Troubadors, one a poem about our Veterans and one a sort of opinion-piece about our Veterans.  The piece about our Vets had a different poem at the end, but I decided to combine these two into one for today.  I feel very strongly about our military and those who served. You can thank my dad for that. He never got into the military, they wouldn't have taken him thanks to a blown knee from high school.  But he's loved and appreciated them his whole life and passed that on to my sister and me.  Don't show your stupidity and/or ignorance by abusing the military in front of my dad or me. We love them.  We appreciate them. And we'll defend them as they defend us.  Here, then, are my tributes to our Vets and the jobs they've done.

A Veteran

It bothers me.

It bothers me that, when I thank a Veteran, he is surprised. Or that he cries. Not because I thanked him, but because anyone thanked him. 
He didn't join the military to gain honors or acclaim. Most of them joined out of a sense of duty, a desire to do what they considered the right thing and the choice to do whatever they could to contribute to the continuing freedom of what they considered a great nation.

When I see a Veteran, I shake his hand, tell him how much I appreciate his service and even ask what branch he was in or where he served. They don't tell me much (it's mostly in passing, after all) but they proudly proclaim their branch of the military and unit they served in.

Most of the time, they smile in gratitude for my gratitude. Once in awhile, tears will fill their eyes that someone will make the effort to even show gratitude for what they did with something as simple as a handshake, a smile, and a quiet "thank you". Sometimes, if family is nearby, tears will fill their eyes, too. Because someone was grateful to an unsung hero.

They don't want a parade.

They don't desire fame.
They don't need ceremonies.
They deserve respect for sacrifices made.
They deserve honor for services rendered.
They deserve a long line of grateful people shaking their hand and saying a quiet "thank you" until it's no longer a surprise.

If you see a Veteran (they ususally wear a baseball hat or a windbreaker or something else with the name of their unit or ship, something will give them away) stop and shake his hand. Ask him where he served, what unit he was with, and thank him for that service. If you can, pay for his meal. You can do this anonymously, I have, and what's a few dollars more for someone who offered his life for yours? Just ask the waitress for his ticket and tell her to only let him know it's from a grateful citizen. He'll be thrilled and it will make your day to have given a little gratitude to such a quiet, brave man.
They all went to Hell and back for us.
Appreciate them while we still have them.
Thank them while we still have the time.

Where Are The Tears?
Where are the tears for the fallen in war?
For those who have journeyed thru Death's darkened door?

Where the reminders of valor? Unsung.
For those who departed with life left undone?

Where do you stand for the red, white and blue?
The banner defended by others who knew;

     Knew they could die for taking a stand,
     Knew they'd be hated, protecting this land,
     Knew that their choice could be met with disgust
     But knew, to save others, the choice was a must.

Where are the tears? Where is the pride?
Where is the faith to stand at their side?

Where is the gratitude, down thru the years,
For lives that were sacrificed. Where are the tears?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Exterminate" or...

We were at our local Target store the other day when I saw this and just cracked up!  I mean, really!  I feel SO much safer knowing the on-top-of-things product-loss-prevention-teams are able to get around quickly.  Or just "exterminate" the problem out of hand. Whichever. (snerksnorklaugh)  I put it on my FB page and one of my friends tho't it looked the the R2 unit Luke Skywalker almost bought before it shorted out.  I can't help but think of either Dahleks or the Robot from the original "Lost In Space" show.  "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" (y'know, he must've had a robo-crush on Will because I don't recall him ever warning any of the others about danger!)  ANYway, here's the photo...

Yup, Dahleks! "Exterminate! Exterminate!"
Tell me what's going through your mind? (and, no, "Mall Cop" doesn't count!)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Got....

I got rainbows,
I got happy,
I got ribbons
Who could ask for anything more!?
I got wire,
I got art beads,
I got ribbons
Who could ask for anything more!?

Yup! I got the ribbon from Ribbons & Silk that I ordered last week.  I'm SO excited!!  They're so silky and the colors are much prettier than I could get on camera.  (lousy lighting and I was in a hurry so I could post)  SO love them and already used one color (it's not showing in the pic, sorry), the teal went on some earrings I'm making for a mini earring swap I'm participating in.  I'm also considering using some of the other ribbon on the second pair for that swap.

I'm So looking forward to seeing what I can do with them
And here's a bit of a peek at one of the earrings for the swap:

Sorry it's blurry, cell phone rush :P

...and one of the colors I'm contemplating for the last pair for the swap.... hmmm....

love that burnt orange and gold MMmmmm
Really, they've got a very fair selection and, if they sell out of something just as you order it, they're good about offering a replacement (they did for me and it's so close to what I wanted as to make no never mind!)  As I said, looking forward to seeing what creativity this kicks off.

I'll keep you updated.