Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thoughts on 9/11 and the American Flag

I (Laura of TeeHeeProductions) have volunteered to do a weekly blurb on the HHU blog. And, so long as there is an audience and the great comments keep coming it is my honor to do so. The subjects will not always be about art, craft and us – sometimes (if I may) a subject might just be something about an experience or a role we all share.

With that in mind I am writing this one about 9/11. And we are coming upon that anniversary shortly. All of us, of course, were affected by this tragedy no matter where anyone was when it happened. Shoshipo, from what I read about her in her intro, was actually working in one of the towers, and I know a few of us live nearer to the DC area and have also had experience’ that are profound. Each one of us can probably write pages of what that event was to us and the long lasting changes it brought to each of us.

At the time I was back in college (even as an old lady I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up so I am always back and forth with school). One of the classes I was taking was Constitutional Law. It was a great class, very thought provoking and not being a kid who HAD to be there, I was one of those older students who really WANTED to be there. So I just ate it all up.

Our final exam was really a take-home term paper with a set of questions regarding each Constitutional Amendment and what it meant then and what we thought it means now within the context of the contemporary and changing world. And, should laws be interpreted differently in times of war or threat.

And one of the questions was during this class in 2001 was: “During times of War, should the burning of the American flag be unlawful or is it a right protected under our Constitution as a lawful expression?”

And my response was:

“My own intellectual answers aren’t any different because we have troops engaged in combat in foreign countries. I suspect though, that more issues will bubble up (if they haven’t already) by virtue of actions taken since 9/11. Certainly the First, Fourth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments will be tested at great length in the future years.

On the other hand, my emotions have changed, and I suspect will continue to change, as I have watched this last century close and this new century begin. Being a “child of the sixties” (I was eighteen during my first year of college in 1971) and I remember an ambivalence about the Viet Nam War and the protests going on. Perhaps that was because my own immediate peers were just short of the lottery and I knew no one personally who served in Viet Nam. Some of my friends had older brothers who did and died… but that war, even then, wasn’t so real to me.

In the attic of my mind, I do have memories of sitting with a small group protesting the Viet Nam War (they were Veterans). A friend and I, on our way to Virginia, during Spring Break of 1972, saw them and decided to stop by and visit. They were camped out on the sidewalk in front of the White House. They had been there for some weeks, literally camped out with sleeping bags and canned goods and cardboard signs. This obviously was long before the barricades all over Washington D. C. now or closing Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. One of these individuals, as an expression of his disdain for the government, even urinated through the black wrought iron fence so that he could leave his own expressive mark on the White House lawn. I remember being so surprised and angry that none of this particular protest had been in any of the news. And, I remember tourists screaming obscenities at these

“kids” as they drove by. Their own individual form of free speech came in the form of expletives along with “…you perverted hippies you just don’t appreciate what that flag is for!!!”

On September 12th, 2001 I had what some may call the privilege of being at Ground Zero (all day and into the night) in my capacity as one of the many EMT’s from the surrounding areas who were called to assist with any life support needed at that site. Strangely, I remember few words spoken that entire day. I have images of sights and smells with some few sounds but little or no words uttered from the hundreds of people who converged on that there and spent so many hours there. It struck me so profoundly that no one spoke at all. The only utterances were directly related to a need at the time. “Make sure you wear your mask.” Or, “They have dry socks over there.” Or, “I think they found something…”

Other than that it was silent. The silence was enhanced by the flocking of dust everywhere. The Financial Center and the pier in front of it looked like it had been covered in inches of soft gray snow. What I knew to be all glass facade buildings now looked like cement structures without windows. All footsteps were quieted by this “snow.” And any other of the few sounds were softened by this snow. If I try to isolate what I remember hearing – it would be the beeping of the back up signals from the trucks that had moved in to re-arrange the devastation in hopes of finding persons; the humming of generators was also a constant in the background; and, then there were the clinking for firemen’s tools swinging from their hips as they walked by. But again, little else, and hardly any words at all.

I felt guilty coming home late that night because everyone who wasn’t there had such hope that survivors would be found. I knew better having been there that there could be nothing living there. And, I remember calling my father (the biggest red-neck, NRA card carrying bag of wind I know who happens to be a WWII veteran having served as a NAVY SEAL (or whatever they called that group then) and telling him: “Now I know why veterans can only talk to veterans about their common experience. No one who hasn’t ‘been there’ can possibly understand.” And I told him I felt as If I had now seen War for the first time and he told me I did and he cried.

The next day I tried to find an American flag. I searched throughout my house, old school supplies, Fourth of July decorations (did I ever have any). I tried so many stores. I tried looking in the cabinets of the Ambulance building. I couldn’t find any. There were none to be found or had on September 13th that people hadn’t bought or found already.

And, then I recalled years back, my boyfriend at the time, in 1971, had a rather large piece of one sewn onto the seat of his jeans...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Friends of Hears and Hands United!

Some friends of the HHU Team! WomanWithTools (also NouveauxRetro) is on hiatus for a couple weeks, but this week you can thank FabricGreetings for this lovely collection!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Team Project No. 4: Back to School, Part 1

Perhaps you've noticed the frowns on the kids faces or the smiles their parents are wearing. Maybe it was the packed parking lots at Walmart and Target that clued you in. I am sure that, one way or another, you have noticed that it is once again time to get ready for going back to school. Our team challenge this month was to design something for your favorite student, teacher or bus driver. This week we'll show some items that you may want to use to butter up the teacher.
How about these great magnets from Terill's Tiles? What teacher wouldn't appreciate these to hang up all those compositions and tests?

Or a gorgeous quilted postcard form Fabric Greetings?

This stunning stained glass apple from Design Stained Glass is sure to bring a smile to the face of any teacher.

These felt pins from Ritzee Rebel is just what is needed to complete the teachers outfit.

See you next week with some more great back to school goodies!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friends of Hears and Hands United!

Some friends of the HHU Team! Remember to thank WomanWithTools (also NouveauxRetro) for this lovely Collection!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Team Project No 3: BBQ, pt. 3

It's Friday again and time has come to present  the two final items in the BBQ Team Project from members of the HHU.
Today's contributors are Nancy's Bags Etc and Ritzee Rebel.

A summery tote bag from Nancy's Bags Etc. Lots of space to carry a change of clothes so that you can go directly to that BBQ party, from a day at the beach.

At a BBQ you might eat hamburgers, right?
Ritzee Rebel has made this felted pin in the form of a cheeseburger.
You can wear it either on your jacket or as an adornment on a bag for example.

Next Friday, we'll introduce a new theme from the team. Let's say that summer is almost over and with it comes new obligations.
Welcome back.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friends of Hears and Hands United!

Some friends of the HHU Team! Remember to thank WomanWithTools (also NouveauxRetro) for this lovely Collection!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Team Project No. 3 - BBQ- Part 2

This week we continue looking at our entries for the BBQ challenge. One of our members, FabricGreetings, really took this challenge to heart. She completed not one, but three items for the challenge. Check them out below.

No barbeque is complete until you've opened a bottle of wine. This great quilted postcard is ideal as an invitation to a summer outing or for any happy occassion!

I have yet to attend a barbeque that didn't include a salad.
Have you?

The grand finale of any barbeque is of course the dessert! I am no baker, but I sure appreciate it when someone else does it.

Come back next Friday to see the final entries to our BBQ theme challenge!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Where do you get it from? How do you keep it? What happens if you lose it?

For those of us who think of ourselves as creative – inspiration is what sustains us. It is essential to what we can accomplish. Without it, the disciplines of hard work, focus, follow-through and all of those other lofty goals would be good for – making widgets. And we don’t make widgets. We each make magic… or we hope to.

We fuse two pieces of glass together and make a beautiful sinewy sculpture than can be used to serve cake. We take a continuous filament of yarn and create something colorful, fun and warm to wear. We discover old pages in old books about old things and think how something new can be made of all of that. We find a piece of fabric and add some more and bind the edges and think of a theme and voila – it’s a postcard, it’s a gift, it is --- they each are --- a work of art!

And they are works of art because of that singular process of inspiration we all depend on and sometimes take for granted. But if anyone has ever lost inspiration for a moment or a day or longer the void it leaves begins to echo with thoughts that can chip away at confidence and motivation. And with that we are no longer “creative.”

And that can be terrifying… or just plain old not fun anymore!

So, where do you get your inspiration? A TV show that made you think? A telephone call that left you laughing? A pattern you saw somewhere that you found fascinating? A sudden scent that brought on a memory? A tool you wish you had but don’t? A piece of jewelry you too can make but more of… something?

And how do you keep it and nurture it when the rest of life takes your time and energies? How do you clean up after the kids but remember that one “affect” you wanted in the piece you’re currently working on? How do you maintain a balance that can be knocked off kilter sometimes with real life dramas you need to attend to and just be in? How do you convey to significant others in your life that yes, you are working and working hard even though you love it so yes you need this time?

When you lose it, if you do… how do you find it again? Is it like losing your glasses – just retrace your steps? Or letting a rainy day not get you down – the sun will be out tomorrow? Or is it like trying hard to find a word – and giving up – and suddenly you have it?

I thought with this first week’s blog/column/writing/blurb ????? we might all share our answers to those three questions. I will not be surprised by the inspiration we all give each other because we have so naturally done so since the inception of this little team. It will be fun, useful and inspirational!

And, remember one of the definitions of inspiration is “the drawing of breath; inhalation; the act of breathing in.” Not a one of us can live without it.

Yours truly,


NOTE: original artwork by Teehee Productions

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friends of Hears and Hands United!

Some friends of the HHU Team! Remember to thank WomanWithTools (also NouveauxRetro) for this lovely Collection!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Team Project No 3: BBQ, pt. 1

Time has come to present the theme of the third Hearts and Hands United Team Project. Summer is barbecue season so Earjeans asked us to think of what we would bring/wear/find at a BBQ?
We should all use our favorite materials with no particular color restrictions for this project.

A fresh slice of watermelon for dessert at the barbecue?

From Jewelry By Jakemi comes this bracelet made out of watermelon jade, green aventurine and sterling silver. 

This next item should have been included in last week's post for the Life is a Beach project. Unfortunately it slipped out of the post and got lost.
Why not include this item at the beach barbecue then?
This tropical fish centerpiece comes from Confections in Glass. It's hand-assembled with three different pieces of "previously loved" glass. A lovely decoration for the barbecue dinner table on the beach!

Be sure to check back next Friday, for another BBQ inspired item from the members of the Hearts and Hands United team.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Report from the Gulf Coast The Alabama Connection

As we start the 107th day since the Gulf Oil Spill began, I think things are beginning to look a little brighter, as work continues around the clock to clean our water and beaches, and save our wildlife. More than 4,900 active response vessels and 85 aircraft are currently working on the oil spill.

There has been little or no oil impact on Alabama beaches for the past two weeks. Beach cleaning machines rake beaches nightly and beaches are open, clean and swimming with caution is permitted. On July 30th, the Alabama Dept. of Public Health lifted the swimming advisory for Gulf waters off of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, based on improvement in water conditions.

Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources opened all state waters for recreational catch-and-release fishing only. Fishing of any kind is still prohibited in the closed area of federal waters, which currently includes an area off shore from Louisiana to Cape San Blas, Florida. Recent observations suggest the oil slick is dissipating faster than expected at the surface. Both commercial and recreational fishing could re-open within days on the Alabama coast after a summer long layoff because of the oil spill, depending on impending test results.

Located in Theodore, Alabama, the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is doing some amazing work. Since June 26, 135 sea turtle nests have been relocated from beaches in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, to a NASA incubation facility near Cape Canaveral, Florida. The eggs are carefully excavated from the sand and transported in climate controlled trucks, with minimal vibration. These are primarily loggerhead sea turtles. To date, 2,168 hatchlings have completed incubation and been released into the Atlantic Ocean. The number of nests will continue to rise over the next few weeks, reaching a peak the week of August 23rd, when 4,000 eggs per day will be transported. If all goes well, some of the females might return to the Northern Gulf in 35 years or so to lay eggs of their own. More than 1,400 birds have been rescued throughout the Gulf Region after exposure to spilled oil and about a third have been rehabilitated and released. Brown Pelicans have been recently released on the Texas Gulf Coast after being rehabilitated.

Some positive reports continue to come every day and we continue to pray for our Gulf.
Thanks to Confections In Glass for reporting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Friends of Hearts and Hands United!

Some friends of the HHU Team! Remember to thank WomanWithTools (also NouveauxRetro) for this lovely Collection!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Monthly Challenge

Team HHU Goes Green! Show us your eco friendly items! 75% of all materials for this challenge must be from re-used or recycled items! Please let us know the details of what you have reused or recycled - before and after pictures would be fantastic!

You can email your entries to heartsandhandsunited@gmail.com please include a picture and link to your listing on a selling venue - it can be Etsy, Artfire, or your personal website. Entries are due by August 31st