Monday, May 27, 2013

How I Taught My Son the Meaning of Memorial Day

Originally posted in 2011, but as apt as ever.


I live near St. Michaels, MD, an affluent resort town that just happens to have the most wonderful coffee kiosk and the best iced coffee ever.  Today, when I drove to get one, I noticed a severe slow-down of traffic in front of the estate?  farm?  estate, I suppose, of a man known for his complete embrace of all holidays.

I was astounded.

Cars were parked by the side of the road, and my glimpse as I passed by showed the most amazing Memorial Day tribute. Apparently, the man collects WWII memorabilia and even has a fighter plane on his estate.

I was in tears on the drive all the way home (my coffee was free, by the way, because I was a veteran, but that's not why I had tears streaming down my cheeks).  I decided to come back with my camera and my eight-year old son and teach him what Memorial Day is all about.

On the drive there, I explained in age-appropriate terms how war wasn't what anyone ever wanted, but it was a part of life, part of what freed people from tyranny.  He already knew from school lessons a bit  about the Revolutionary and Civil wars, the Underground Railroad and such, but I also explained that even now, wars were going on across the world, and they were complicated.  His father and I both were in the military, but his daddy really was put in harm's way many times -- Bosnia, Iraq, and places unknown to me, flying in airplanes as a linguist for most of it.

We talked about respect for those who lost loved ones, regardless of our feelings about war in general, and walked up on the tableau. 

This man had put a LOT of work into this. 

He had put up so many white crosses, and then mannequins in the uniforms from Revolutionary, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and current day.  The empty spot, I'm imagining, is from the Korean War, or the Forgotten War.  Rick's father fought in that war, and absolutely refuses to speak of it.  (Click for a larger photo).

There were the wife and child with flowers for the grave of a fallen husband and father.

More soldiers to the side, from World War II, I'm imagining from the uniforms.

Uniforms my husband has worn.  When I think of the dangers he put himself through in his twenty-six years.... and then when I realize I lived in South Korea, next to a land where the ruler was a complete crackpot, all the chemical warfare drills we all went through start to mean something more than an annoyance.

More of the broad view, showing the scope of work this man did for Memorial Day.

And, along with the flag, a symbol of freedom.

Flags festooned the long lengths of white fence.  Zack took in all of this with a quiet, contemplative look on his face.  Not a look of fear, but a look of , dare I hope, appreciation.  Appreciation for what this man had done, appreciation for the dozens of cars that stopped to take pictures, appreciation for what I was quietly telling him.  Appreciation for his parents, who did their part, and understanding, in his eight-year old capacity, that things don't always make sense in the world, but people believe in things, and we should respect them.

Respect is something I've been trying to teach Zack daily.  Respect for others, for things, for quiet time, for waiting turns.  Sometimes object lessons come in unusual ways -- such as driving down the road to get a coffee on Memorial Day.

(powered by pie)

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The WINNERS of the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party Contest!

This is going to be a LONG post, so settle in with a cup of something delicious (and some pie, maybe?) and get ready for some serious eye candy!    (Click on each photo for larger views.)

First, I'd like to again thank my panel of judges (read more about them here).  They had a truly huge job to do!  Today, I spent several hours pulling all the badges together and coordinating the emails, photos, and blogs, and while it is indeed a time-consuming task, it was a beautiful one and well worth it.

As with a lot of good things, I started with a plan and it just grew.  I started with these categories for the judges to vote on:

:: Grand Prize ::
(the piece chosen by all judges as the Best in Show)

:: Judge's Choice ::
(favorite of each judge)
:: Best Use of Seed Beads:

:: Best Wire Work ::

 :: Best Use of Fiber ::

:: Best Use of Color ::

and then some that Zack and I would pick ...

:: The Out of the Box Award ::
(most creative use of bead soup)

:: Zack's Choice ::
(my son Zack picks his favorite)

:: Out of the Hat Winner ::
(I draw a name out of a hat)

I ended up with one Grand Prize that was pulled out of a hat from all those chosen by the judges, and a Best Use of Seed Beads/Wire Work/Use of Fiber/Use of Color for EACH judge. I then added a "Lori's Hat" category where I picked my personal favorites and then drew a name from THAT hat (as opposed to the "Out of the Hat" which is one winner from ALL the entries).

And then I couldn't stop and had some Runners Up.  I had to stop then or I would have an epic pile of mail to get out the door!  You can click here to see what some of the prizes will be, and since there are (are you ready for this?) ....

.....well, I'm going to beg each winner to post what they get on their own blog and in the Bead Soup Cafe to save me some time!   But here's a big pile of goodies, and it's JUST the beginning.

I hate it when you have to wait and wait to see who wins the Grand Prize, so I'm going to go ahead and list that person first!

Kris Lanae Binsfield

As you can see, Kris won several awards and this earns her bragging rights as the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party® contest.  Congratulations, Kris!

(see above, Grand Prize winner)

Kalmbach Publishing, 

(voted for entire body of work)

(voted for entire body of work) 

Nina Designs had a tie!

PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft, Melissa Mesara at one-eared pig beads

Both Beaducation AND Kalmbach Publishing chose 

Both Fusion Beads and Nina Designs chose

(that's three wins with two pieces for Debbie -- way to go!)

 PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft, Lily Krist of Handmade by LilK 

Fusion Beads and Lima Beads chose

(see above, Grand Prize winner)

Kalmbach Publishing, Susan of Libellula Jewelry

(voted for entire body of work) 

PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft, 

Beaducation and Lima Beads chose

(a Facebook entrant!)

Kalmbach Publishing, 

PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft, Heidi Kingman of Heidi Kingman Jewelry

Kalmbach Publishing, Christina Miles of Wings N Scales

(voted for entire body of work)

PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft, Dana Hickey of Wind Dancer Studios

Chosen by Zack as his absolute favorite,

Pulled out of a hat of alllllll the entrants,

(a Facebook entrant!)

I took all my absolute favorites
(and that was TOUGH to narrow down)
and then drew one out of a hat.

And last but not least, 


I hope you'll agree this was well worth the wait!  Preparing and writing this blog post took a ton of time, but you guys put in a lot of your creative time as well as your heart and soul into your work, and I hope you'll join me again next year for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party®!

PLEASE take a moment to thank our sponsors -- Beaducation, Kalmbach Publishing, Fusion Beads, Nina Designs, Lima Beads, and PJ Tool Jewelry & Craft for their time and contributions.  This would not be NEARLY as much fun without their hard work and enthusiasm.

Winners, I'll be pinning your photos for you in the contest board, and emailing you over the next couple of days with badges and information about how to claim your prizes!  I'm doing the majority of the mailing, so bear with me!!!

(powered by pie)

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.