Black bear eating from my apple tree, August night, 2012

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pin and Brooch Collection

Everyone I know collects something, be it snow globes, chicken decor, recipes, or in some cases, obvious stuff, like coins and stamps. I used to collect bulldog figurines, since I owned bulldogs for awhile, and had extra money to spend on such things. Now, I am a garage sale lady who loves to root around in the cigar boxes of costume jewelry that people set out on the card table. When I find beads and such, I will often repurpose them for other things, like zipper pulls, pendants, bracelets, etc. But my favorite finds are always the brooches and pins I run across.

Here's an album featuring some of my treasures. Since I have not had any time to look up if they're valuable or not, how old they are, etc., I thought I'd post them here in case someone else knows. And I'll Pinterest them to see if anyone else has a clue.

Thinking this bulldog pin, with dangly heart charm, is Bakelite.

This lizard is cool, and may or may not be very old.

This rhinestone encrusted dolphin is very large. Thinking it was from a time when women wore their brooches on their shoulder-padded shoulders.

"Meep-meep." Roadrunner. (Had this on a wide-brimmed hat on a bird watch one time, and a fellow bird watcher remarked, "my grandma had a pin just like that in the 60s!")

(Bought this booby pin from a nice older lady at a market in Ecuador. Newish.)

This reindeer pin is my "go-to" decoration for Christmas season. Religion aside, who doesn't love a caribou?

Plastic "happy daisy." 70's? I think my mom's Avon lady wore one like this (with shiny pink lips and a pageboy).

This is a gigantic brooch that I never wear. Maybe if I had a military-type trench/duster on. Sort of "in your face."

Nice old 60s brooch from a wonderful (now deceased, RIP) lady I once knew. (Get comments on this one all the time. ??? People love it. Looks nice on a denim jacket.)

Yeah, a bulldog pin from my bulldog collecting past. Weird that only the head is enameled.

Oops. Another bulldog item. Nice pin. Wish I knew how old. Stamped metal.

One of my favorites, purchased in 1982, but was told it was "old". A brass (?) guitar with actual strings.
Just got this stamped tin piece (made in Japan) from the gift shop at Manzanar NHS in California, the site of a former Japanese internment camp in California (WWII). Not sure I have ever seen a bird that looks like this in North America, but colorful!

Assuming this tack pin (silver) depicts a pictograph from Utah, Arizona, etc. Newsih? From a gift shop at National Parks?

"Day of the Dead" pin. So cool. You open a cabinet with a mirror on it (looks like a bathroom medicine cabinet) to find a bride and groom skeleton pair inside.

One of my oldest pins. I know because the pin mechanism on the back is very crude and doesn't stay shut. A bellhop carrying two rhinestone suitcases. (I don't dare wear this out, lest I lose it.)

Crab pin I remember buying at the Jersey Shore (not Maryland?) in the early 80s. Claws are articulated, and swing back and forth.

No brainer. Bought in Paris in 1992. Toursity thing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Manzanar National Historic Site

Some of our most interesting National Parks sites are so remote, very few people manage to visit them. Manzanar National Historic Site in California is one such place. Situated in the gorgeous but somewhat inhospitable Owens Valley on Highway 395, tucked between Death Valley to the east and the sheer escarpment of the Sierras to the west, this Historic Site is one that takes some planning and  a real desire to investigate. It is well worth your effort. Like battlefields and Native American sites managed by NPS, Manzanar serves as a poignant reminder of a dark time in our nation's history, and while sobering, the stories it tells, of the people who lived and died there, are stories we all need to know.

From the NPS brochure (boldface is mine):

"Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor led the United States into World War II, and radically changed the lives of 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry living in the U.S. The attack intensified racial prejudices and led to fear of potential sabotage and espionage by Japanese Americans among some in the government, military, news media, and public. In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing
 the Secretary of War to establish Military Areas and to remove from those areas anyone who might threaten the war effort. Without due process, the government gave everyone of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast only days to decide what to do with their houses, farms, businesses, and other possessions...

...Each family was assigned an identification number and loaded into cars, buses, trucks, and trains, taking only what they could carry. Japanese Americans were transported under military guard to 17 temporary assembly centers located at racetracks, fairgrounds, and similar facilities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Then they were moved to one of 10 hastily built relocation centers. By November 1942 the relocation was complete."

I am always stunned to find Americans who have no knowledge of the fact that we sent some of our citizens to internment camps here in the good-old USA during these turbulent times. Two-thirds of the people sent to Manzanar (some people call it a "concentration camp") were American citizens by birth.

Please hit the link above to learn more about this particular camp, and to find out about the uncertain futures the internees faced during this difficult time. Our freedom is everything, and these innocent, hard-working citizens did not deserve to be herded up and fenced in by the military, losing everything, due to paranoia. No matter where you stand politically, I hope you'll agree that this kind of prejudice and government action was unwarranted, and not at all in keeping in line with our Constitution. If you happen to be traveling past this remote historic place, please stop and ponder for an hour or two. Somber yet, beautiful, the time you spend here will change your world view and make you appreciate the simple freedoms we all take for granted.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Jersey Maritime Museum, Beach Haven

Recently, I spent a few days on glorious Long Beach Island, a natural, relatively quiet part of the Jersey Shore. While my intention was to play in the surf and bird watch, one day of our stay was dark and gloomy. As a torrential downpour soaked us in the town of Beach Haven, we decided to step into the New Jersey Maritime Museum to escape the storm. What a great place! The collections of maritime artifacts and historical archives are superb. I highly recommend a visit here whether raining or not the next time you have a few hours to spare in this part of the world.

Some photos of our time spent there:

Old diving suit. How did they move around in these things?

This is an actual huge lobster claw from a 40-plus pound giant plucked from the ocean, painted to look like a pirate.

Lots of information on Jersey Shore shipwrecks. Here a plaque for the victims of the sinking of the Powhatan.

Bottles retrieved by shipwreck divers

Looking down from second floor. Note all the artwork, and life ring from days gone by.

While much of the subject matter is serious, whimsical touches keep it lively. Here, a pirate figurine
 swings in the window overlooking visitors.

Creepy/cute sailor doll in a maritime toy display
Something for "Jaws" fans

Friday, April 12, 2013

MASKS Art Exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Art

I'm happy to be contributing art to this year's "Masks" fundraiser and show at our local art museum. Last Friday's opening was a huge success and I was really impressed by the talent and the diversity of creative ideas featured. I encourage anyone in the area to check out the exhibit, vote for their favorite, and even place a bid or two. Here's my submission--"Sugar Skull," a Mexican "Day of the Dead" piece.

Here's more information on the show, from the museum's recent email:

"Now on display are 206 masks for the museum's annual fundraiser. Until May 3 you have the opportunity not only to admire the masks, but also to bid on them silent-auction style. Bids start at $40.00 and everyone can bid!

There were 1,377 people who came through during First Friday Gallery Walk with a waiting line out the front door - awesome. One mask already has a bid of $1,200.00! However there are plenty of masks available at the opening bid amount – stop in today to find your favorite.

Below is more information about this event.

Silent Auction
Over 200 masks are on display in the Main Gallery and Gallery 101 which is the student gallery. Each mask has been created by members of our community from all walks of life. They have generously donated their time and creativity to benefit the exhibitions and educational programs of Fort Collins Museum of Art.

How to Bid
 1. Obtain a bid number card from volunteers at the reception desk and throughout the galleries. Fill out the bottom of the bid card and return to the reception desk. Use your bid number to bid on your favorite masks. Bid sheets are located near each mask, be sure that you are bidding on the correct mask and please write legibly!
2. All masks have a beginning bid of $40.00 but you may start the bidding higher. Be sure your bid amount is at least $5.00 above the former bid.
3. Come back often to check if you're still the highest bidder. The Silent Auction closes on Friday, May 3rd, at 9:00 p.m.
4. The winning bidders will be called on Wednesday, May 8 to pick up their masks May 8 – May 12. Payment will be collected at that time.

Phantom Gems
 As you go through the museum you will see an image of the Phantom of the Opera mask. This image signifies that the mask has a Phantom Gem attached to it. The gem could be tennis lessons, admission to an event or a basket of goodies!

Please read the bid sheet for the mask to learn about the Phantom Gem attached to it.

When bidding on the mask, please consider the value of the Phantom Gem that goes with it. The winning bidder of the mask also wins the Phantom Gem – two lovely items with one bid!

People's Choice Voting
You may vote for your favorite mask as the People's Choice. The winning mask artist will receive a family membership to the museum. Ballots and an acrylic ballot box are located in the reception area.

Gala Masks and Proxy Bids
 If you bid on a Gala Mask you are bidding on mask that goes to the Gala Celebration at Embassy Suites on April 20. If you cannot attend this event, you may give us your proxy bid and we will continue to bid for you at the gala. Gala Celebration reservations are $125.00 per person. Reservations must be made by April 12. Please talk to Gloria or April for more information."

For those who are interested, my mask comes with a "Phantom" gift of cupcakes from a local bakery, so if you win the mask, you win those too.

Here's a link to the web site.