Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Gratefulness

Not so many years ago I was a Cub Scout Den Mom.  We lived in Gresham, OR which is a wonderful suburb of Portland.  On the Thursday before Memorial Day it was the custom for all Cub Scouts in the area to go to Willamette National Cemetery where the boys decorated each grave with an American flag.  The day we participated was a "good" day for Portland - only a little mist.  With another mom we packed six or seven boys including my oldest son and reported for duty. The event started with some opening ceremonies that included a local politician making a speech that went too long and bored the boys (and the moms), Also presentation of flags and playing of taps.  "My" boys were well behaved but unfamilar with Military ceremonies or customs and I was deluged with wispered questions throughout the ceremony.  Fortunately, a military representative of the Cemetery focused the Scouts with brief and impressive instructions on how putting the flags on each grave neatly was a way to honor men who had served each of us in protecting our country.  We were off to work.

Our group was assigned a shady area of the cemetery where the graves had been created in the 1950's.  Some were clearly graves of veterans that had returned from WWI and died of natural causes.  One was a vetran of the Spanish American War.  Others were men who had died in battle in Korea.  The boys were reading out the names and dates on each grave and questions were still comming - "Is there really a body buried here?", "Where's Korea?", "Why did they die?".   As they happily posted a flag on each grave I was nearly in tears as I thought of these beautiful boys perhaps sometime in the future becoming soldjers and possibly ending their life in the service of their country.  I could imagine the Mothers of WWII wearing their pins with silver stars representing their sons in the military and their worry.  I imagined the sorrow of a mother who's pin had a gold star for a boy who had lost his life.   I prayed that these sweet boys would be spared the horrors of war.

Scout with Flag

I was touched to see here in the Oregonian that this is still the tradition for this cemetery.  Scouts have been decorating the gaves at Portland's National cemetery now for 42 years.  Some of the graves now are for boys who once placed flags to honor the men who went before them.  Perhaps they were with their mothers when they came to decorate the cemetery as Scouts.
All our gratitude cannot be enough.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Overhaul

I've finished an overhaul of my Etsy shop.  I've got some great feedback and it seems that price is a barrier for many of my fans. (I have some.  Isn't that the coolest.).  Even though my Arks are priced way below the comptition I feel that the economy dictates I lower my prices a bit.  I've also posted some "Starter Sets" that will allow buyers to start with an ark and four animals and then add more animals over time.  This should make it easier to afford an heirloom quality set.  I also think this will be easier for several people to gift a new baby or a favorite Sunday School teacher or your Best Loved Child with a fabulous set that will be coveted by generations yet unborn. 

I do have some new designs that will be in the shop soon.  Some of the BLOffspring have indicated that they get my prototypes and the product improves when it goes in the shop.  It may be true.  I do tweak things after making it a few times.  In this tradiiton.  My girl in AZ is getting this set for her one and only #7 Birthday.   

Annie's Goldylocks & 3 Bears Set
It's very much a prototype.  I know I'm changing the shape of the house so I won't post pictures until I do the next one.  Happy Birthday sweet girl.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Most Unappreciated Wild Flower

I've been visitng family and while in New England the BLGrandkids wanted to take us on their favorite day trip - the Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour in Vermont.  It was a perfect day and I do love Ben and Jerry and their ice cream.  What I loved the most was the wonderful graphics the brand uses.  Everything at the site is decorated with their bright cloud and cow designs.  The factory tour is brief (and ends with ice cream) but they don't let you take pictures.  I'm sure this is less for industrial spying and more so no one will post  a picture of an employee doing something inapropriate on the internet.  This was unfortunate because all the walls in the areas you tour are covered with painted graphics.  I was so more interested in the walls then how they make the ice cream.  The tour views the factory floor from a small glassed in loft.  The hallway leading to it had yellow and pale blue graphics all showing Artic themes.  Penguins, polar bears, etc.  It was wonderfull!  They did tell us that if your favorite grocer doesn't carry the flavor you most want your grocery store can order a six pack just for your.
After the tour we had more ice cream at the Scoop Shop and let the kids blow off steam at the playground.  On this perfect day I noticed that the grassy hill before the playground was decorated with dandelions.  It looked like how you would paint the hill if you were producing a picture in the same style as Ben & Jerry's official graphics. 
They were adorable!  I swear it was as if they were planted.  Which made me wonder, why do we hate dandelions?  They are beautiful wild flowers but we hate on them fierce.  Look below. Can't think of anything prettier

Maybe my Ben & Jerry's socks