Spotlight Friday: Turtles, the symbol of wisdom

A friend of mine who I met 30+ years ago in Wau, Papua New Guinea. Is in Costa Rica at the moment. And I really admire her for that.

Why I admire her for going to Cosata Rica?

Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.
  • Capital:
    • San José
  • Currency:
    • Costa Rican colón
  • Population:
    • 4.872 million (2013)

Well she is there for  a little while to help the sea turtles.Through a volunteering program. There is a FB page if you’d like to get some more info.  She put a hold on her everyday life. For reasons that are important to her.  Left her job, packed up a few things and went to a far away place to help those wonderful creatures. She could of just said: ” I am sick of my job, or the way my life is going right now…I am leaving everything behind and just travel the world, find myself.”

No ,she decided to be selfless and help someone else. That is what I admire. To see that there is something that is not making her happy and taking actions and at the same time not making it only about herself.

She blogs about her experience when she has internet access. And I get all giddy when I get the email notification that there is a new story. The way she writes about things bring back a lot of childhood memories for me.  At first I was a little jealous when I read she’d be going to Costa Rica to help turtles. But then I could read the pain in between the lines. I don’t know why she made this decision, that’s only for her to know. But I could feel her torments, when I was reading her blog and all I wanted to do is take her sorrow away.

I admire her for stepping out of her comfort zone and taking a leap of faith. I think that is what most of us are scared of, this first step. Often it’s a hard pill to swallow to admit that there is something that is not right for one.  It’s easy to say it’s someone else fault.

So hats off to her!

And when I read that she will be volunteering on a turtle project, it all made sense to me.

The tortoise is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, and is able to defend itself on its own. It personifies water, the moon, the Earth, time, immortality, and fertility. Creation is associated with the tortoise and it is also believed that the tortoise bears the burden of the whole world.

Where else would one go to find themselves?

This reminds me of the book “Momo” from Michael Ende.  It is about the concept of time and how it is used by humans in modern societies. I love this book, still have it.

The turtles name is Kassiopeia,a tortoise who can communicate through writing on her shell and can see thirty minutes into the future.

Do you remember the turtles name in the “neverending story” ?  Yes, her name was Morla, known as the ancient one.

So I do see a connection here. I don’t know if that was my friends intention, but it all makes so much sense to me.

I want to wish her the best. May this trip point her in the right direction and  open up new doors.

 

Here are the wonderful creations from my Etsy treasury:

the-symbol-of-wisdom

To know that a sea turtle lays about 110 eggs on average in one nest, and between two and eight nest in one season, leaves me in awe. But nature has it’s own balance, it’s estimated that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. Sea turtle hatchlings eat a variety of prey including things like molluscs ( snails, slugs, mussels, and octopuses)  and crustaceans, hydrozoans (related to jellyfish and corals), sargassum sea weed ( genus of large brown seaweed (a type of algae) that floats in island-like masses), jellyfish, and fish eggs.

Crabs, raccoons, boars, birds, coyotes and sharks all play their role in the natural food chain as sea turtle predators.However, the threats of predation increase when human development reaches nesting beaches. People who leave trash near the shore, for example, unwittingly call raccoons and other non-native species to the beaches to look for food.

While sea turtles have developed special adaptations that allow them to be agile in water, they remain clumsy on land. They are not fast enough, or agile enough to escape these predators. Unable to retract their heads and flippers into their shell, like land tortoises, sea turtles are very vulnerable to these invasive predators.

 

These creatures are fine and can fend for themselves until  human development reaches nesting beaches. Or our trash that ends up in the oceans.

 


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Sea turtle sterling silver guitar pick with hammered design
by Metalopia

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
TURTLE GIFT, Soap with Turtle design, Gift from Hawaii for Girl, Boy, Man, Woman
TURTLE SOAP, 4.5 OZ.
by AlohaNaturals

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Tortoise Nesting doll stacking dolls matryoshka russian dolls set of 3 by artmatryoshka

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Turtle , hand knitted Stethoscope cover
Stethoscope cozy
by HandmadeFuzzy

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
‘Terry Turtle’-a ooak figuer
by enchantedcraft

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Ocean life, Sea Turtle, Octopus, Clown Fish, Wall art prints, Animal print art
Art print of 3 ocean animals
by Rosemarine

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Pink Box Turtle
by JustBelieveCreations

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Crochet Turtle, Amigurumi Turtle, Stuffed Plushy Toy, Crochet Animals
Tammy The Turtle Stuffed Animal
by SandeesKreations

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
ITurquoise Turtle Ring. Artisan Sterling Silver Ring by rocksnbeads

 

Enjoy the wonderful Turtle collection made from Zibbet and Artyah shops. Just click on the picture if you’d like to take a closer look.

 

Now I want to wish you a wonderful day, and hope you find some time to reflect.

Spotlight Friday: Post office

Well, this week we had a half a day at School. That meant we could finally get the passports done for our kids. We had to take the trip to down town Post Office, because they where open until 4 and had walk ins, meaning we didn’t need to make an appointment. So after I had filled out all the paperwork I was sitting there watching all the people coming in to mail their packages and letters. How much it changed since the internet, I was thinking.

I remember when I lived in boarding school, every Sunday we where supposed to write letters to our family. I still have a few of those, ones that I had written to my Grandparents in Germany.They where not very long, usually just talking about the weather in a very scraggly cursive hand writing.Not that it is any better now.

During my teenage years I used to write to my friends that lived further away, pages over pages about what is going on, how I was mad at my parents and all that important teenager stuff. My envelopes where either created out of old calendar pages or posters or sometimes just a page out of a catalog. And usually had a ton of stickers on them.

Nowadays I hardly ever sit down anymore to write. Sadly. I do get the urge to write a letter here and there but not as often as I want it to be. I enjoy receiving letters, so I should put in more effort to return the favor.

I had to interrupt here because I felt guilty for not sending any sign of life to one of my friends for a while. So I went off to drop a few lines.

A post office is a customer service facility forming part of a national postal system. Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of letters and parcels; provision of post office boxes; and sale of postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. In addition, many post offices offer additional services: providing and accepting government forms (such as passport applications), processing government services and fees (such as road tax), and banking services (such as savings accounts and money orders). The chief administrator of a post office is a postmaster.

The term “post office” or “post-office” has been in use since the 1650’s, shortly after the legalization of private mail service in England in 1635. In early Modern England, post ridersmounted couriers – were placed (“posted”) every few hours along post roads at “posting houses” or “post houses” between major cities (“post towns“). These stables or inns permitted important correspondence to travel without delay. In early America, post offices were also known as “stations“. This term and “post house” fell from use as horse and coach service was replaced by railways, aircraft, and automobiles.

Today, “post office” usually refers to postal facilities providing customer service. The term “General Post Office” is sometimes used for the national headquarters of a postal service, even if it does not provide customer service within the building. A postal facility used exclusively for processing mail is instead known as sorting office or delivery office, which may have a large central area known as a “sorting” or “postal hall”. Integrated facilities combining mail processing with railway stations or airports are known as mail exchanges.

This is a picture of a mail sorting place in Germany, I am pretty sure they look very similar all over the world.73775888-p-590_450

Amazing how most of the mail makes it to its intended destination.

Today mail gets to it’s final point pretty quick. Sometimes it puzzles me how it got there that fast.

While in boarding school I remember using air mail paper and envelopes. They where really thin paper, so they wouldn’t weigh as much. I really liked the red and white pattern around the envelope.

Sometimes I would have one of those pages that you write on and then when you where done you would fold them up into a envelope. The recipient had to be very careful opening those letters, so it wouldn’t rip into pieces.  They where called aerogramme, a sheet of lightweight paper, bearing an official postal stamp imprint,that is folded to form its own envelope and can be sent via airmail at special, low rate because of its standard size, light weight, and lack of enclosures.

It looked something like this, I guess every country has it’s own designs.

424px-aerogramme_unfolded2c_outer_view

This paper is as thin as tissue paper. (see all the info here https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aerogramme_unfolded,_outer_view.jpg)

Yes, I could drop my letters in my mailbox, put the flag up and then have our mail lady bring it to the post office.

mailbox

(If the red flag on your mailbox is up, the carrier should pick up the mail, according to Valerie Welsch, public affairs and communications spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Gateway District in St. Louis. If the flag is not up, the carrier is not required to check every box for outgoing mail.May 22, 2014)

I still prefer to bring my mail to our Post Office. Like that I know it will go out the intended date (sometimes the mail car gets here really late, like after dark late) and like that I get to see the people that work there,if they have a minute to chitchat. They know that my packages are usually all ready, all I want is the print out for proof. Sometimes I get a comment about that my customs form is not readable, and that I should take writing lessons or any joke along those lines. We chitchat about their new grand babies and so on. It feels good to get some human interaction, in this world that seams to get more unpersonal every day.

 

This is the Etsy Treasury that I put together with some Postal items: post-office

I learned the other day that Etsy made this decision :On October 5, we will be removing links to the Treasuries page from buyer access points, including the homepage, Favorites page and user profile. Existing Treasuries will still be accessible, and we do not have current plans to remove these from the site. External links to Treasury pages will continue to function, and buyers can still purchase available items from these Treasuries.

I don’t quite know yet how I will do my  Spotlights from now on, but I am sure I will figure out something.  I guess it’s time for a overhaul, a change.

 


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Funny Post Office sign by AndTheSignSays

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
1929 USPS Pitcairn Aviation Mailwing Mail Plane Biplane NY to Atlanta
by 4wheeldreams

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Superior Nebraska Vintage Town View Postcard Post Office
by SandyCreekCollectables

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Wall Hanging Mail Holder in Straw
Cottage Chic Wood Wall Letter Holder Hand Painted Straw

by OlliesFineThings


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Vintage PSX Rubber Stamp Christmas Mailbox C522 by beckeandbailey

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Post Office New York Antique Postcard UDB cancelled 1906 by TheOldBarnDoor

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Snail Mail Hand Carved Stamp
by SweetSpotStampShop

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Flourish Mailbox Vinyl Decal
by CountryCraftsandVinyl

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Art Mail
by HollyLance

just click on the picture and it will take you to the Zibbet or Artyah shop listing.

 

I am planning on writing some letters this weekend, long overdue. And then hopefully I will get some letters in return.

Got to keep our Post Office busy.

I wish you a wonderful Friday and a relaxing weekend.

 

yes, it’s finally done

Last week I went to my craft store, to check out if my motorcycle was in. Well guess what? They had only ordered one and that was sold even before I got there in the morning. Off to find a person that works there and could help me get one before the birthday party on Saturday. I had to do a rain check and it would be in the following Wednesday, but please don’t come in on Wednesday because it takes us all day to unload the truck and it might be the last thing we take out. Give us a call in the evening.

So I went home, tried to finish my mice so they would be ready by the time I’d have the bike. The helmets gave me quite a fit. The first set I made was too big. biker

Looked more like a mouse wearing a coconut shell!

The second set didn’t want to dry, so I was starting to stress a little. I got them dry, more or less. Fitted them to their individual heads. Cut holes into the helmets so their ears would be able to poke through. Then sew on some black ribbon, so the helmet will stay on when they are doing high speeds on the highway.

Off to knit some motorcycle jackets. And accessories.

jacket

Pretty tiny, isn’t it?

The jackets where quite fiddly, the arms are usually only 4 stitches wide. But I think it worked out quite well. biki It even looks like the mouse developed a little bit of muscle. And then I decided to add a zipper. Of course they needed a scarf, because if you drive fast that wind can get pretty cold and you don’t want to have a stiff neck once you get of the bike.

So the mice where done. And I was counting the hours to Wednesday evening. Looked up the craft stores number because I couldn’t find that receipt.  Oh, there…..keep my fingers crossed that it was there. After the 4th person on the phone I was finally told that they have it and it will be at the register for me to be picked up. So Thursday morning I had planned to be there first thing to pick it up. But as usually my plans don’t work out as I had hoped. My youngest came down with something so I had to postpone for a little bit.

I did manage to pick up the motorcycle and was antsy the whole way home to see if the mice would fit on the bike and how it would look.

I got the mice, some thread, the hot glue gun and some scissors and this was the end result:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My neighbor said the best mice I have made so far. I think they came out quite cute.

Now all I have to do is make a box , so they can be transported and handed over on Saturday.

I had way too much on my plate this week to take the time to create the spotlight treasuries. I should get back to them next week.

I hope you enjoyed the little mice on a motorcycle slide show. Have a wonderful day and happy creating!

Spotlight Friday: Motorcycle and mice.

We are invited to a birthday party in about 2 weeks, some German friends from us. They are only here until retirement and then will go back. In their free time the enjoy riding through the country sides on their motorcycle.

So it wasn’t really hard for me to figure out what I could make as a present.

Can you guess?

Yes, a mouse couple riding a motorcycle.

So I went online to see if there would be any motorcycle in the right size for my mice. It took  me a few hours to find the right one. The other day I went to see if the store where I found it at had one on hand. Sadly they where sold out, but I was promised that it should be in in a few days. In the mean time I am getting the mouse couple ready.

 

In Germany the bikers wear a full leather outfit. Leather pants, jacket , gloves and a helmet.

motorradbekleidung All out of security reasons.  You don’t have any metal around you if you happen to end up on the street.The so called crunch zone.  So the leather is a little bit of protection.

When I see bike riders driver around here in the USA, at least here in South Carolina,  on their bikes I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to protect themselves a little. Often they are on their motorcycles with short pants, no helmet, just a tank top and I have even seen them riding in flip flops.

Since 2014 you have to have all these items if you are on a bike in Germany :

  • passendem Motorradhelm,   /  fitted helmed
  • Motorradhandschuhen,          /   gloves
  • eng anliegender Motorradjacke, / tight fitting motorcycle jacket
  • Rückenprotektor, falls nicht in Motorradjacke integriert,  /  back protection if it’s not integrated in the jacked
  • Motorradhose,   / motorcycle pants
  • Motorradstiefeln mit ausreichendem Knöchelschutz / motorcycle boots with enough ankle protection

Since 1976 there is a helmet obligation for anything that moves with a motor on two wheels over 20 km/h = 12.43 mph, in Germany.

 Even though there was clearly proof that helmets saved lives, and it was emphasized to wear them there was no law passed anywhere in the world to make it mandatory before 1961. People didn’t wear them because they thought they looked uncool.  Australia did introduce a helmet mandatory law in 1961.
In 1966 the US introduced the Highway safety act. The Act required the Secretary of Transportation to set uniform standards for state highway safety programs. One of these standards, issued in 1967, dealt with motorcycle safety. It included the requirement that states adopt universal helmet use laws — laws that mandate helmet use by all motorcycle riders. States that failed to comply would lose a portion of their federal-aid highway construction funds.
By 1975, 47 States had introduced this helmet law.  But after this law was revoked, more than half removed the mandatory law.
Over the last years the use of helmets has declined.  Sadly the deaths have increased.
I got my mice ready and tried to figure out how I could make a tight fitting “leather” pants. It was quite tight in some places…..  I ran out of needles….needl
but I think they turned out quite good. Oh just noticed, one mouse still needs whiskers. I guess I got to wrapped up in the pants.
bikers
My next knitting task will be figuring out how to make a “leather” jacket for the couple.
In the mean time I am also working on the helmets.
This is what I have so far       helm
It will take a few days until I can start cutting it into shape. The glue water mixture will have to fully dry first.
 This is my motorcycle collection that I put together from Artyah and Zibbet shops. Click on the picture and it will take you to the corresponding shops.

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Paper Motorcycle Die Cut Set of 12
by TheHoppeShoppe

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Dirt Bike Word Art, Personalized Child Art, Gift for Boy
by bymyword

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Motorcycle Puzzle – Motorbike – for Shelf or Tabletop – Home Decor – Transportation Decor
by WoodNCreations

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Harley Motorcycle Lover Sign ‘ Ride It Like You Stole It ‘ – Primitive, Folk Art, Country
by AndTheSignSays

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
AVANT GARDE Cropped Leather Motorcycle Biker Chic Jacket xs s
by thecatmeows

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Black leather motorcycle tool bag / small saddle bag
by RobertiCustoms

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Cece Rider Motorcycle Rocker
by customwoodshack

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Knitting Cloth Pattern – MOTORCYCLE – PDF
by ezcareknits

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Rustic Motorcycle Racer Steel Heart Ornament
by becreations

 

and here is my motorcycle treasury from Etsy

motorcycles

 

I hope I will get my mice motorcycle this week so I can show you the finished product of my biking mouse couple.

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

Spotlight Friday: Passport and traveling

A little while ago, my cousin and I where taking about taking a trip, maybe visiting them in Germany in the near future.

So I went to see if our passports are still up to date. Well guess what? Only one out of 4 was still valid. That would be mine. Phew!!! because for mine I would have to make an appointment in Atlanta. Not knowing how long the wait for that would be. Then make arrangements that my kids are taken to and from School. Atlanta is about a 3 hour drive from here. Well I guess I could count myself lucky, that I don’t have to go further like other Germans that live on the West Coast. But as I said mine is still good for another 5 years.

So I checked online to see what the rates are right now for an American passport

Passport Service Type Passport Fee Expedite Passport Fee
New Passport Age 15 and Younger $80.00 $60.00
Lost or Stolen Passport $80 (Child) $110 (Adult) $60.00
1st Passport Card $15 (Child) $30 (Adult) $60.00
Passport Renewal $110.00

and then you still have to add the $25 Execution fee and the $15 for the picture . Oh boy, better scrape our pennies together.

Off I went to make a phone call to our closest post office.

Guess what, they only do passports between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. “no, thank you, Mam. I will not need an appointment today. I am not going to take my kids out of School for that.” But she did give me two post offices that do passports between  8:30 am and 3:30 pm / 4 pm on a walk in basis.

So now all I had to do is check for the next 1/2 day in my kids schedule and tell hubby to take a day off, because we both need to be there to sign their application.

What an act, just to get a document that allows you to travel abroad.

King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament.At that time, documents like these could be issued by the king to anyone, whether they were English or not. Foreign nationals even got theirs free of charge, while English subjects had to pay.

It was in the early 20th century that passports as we would recognize them today began to be used.

Many countries issue only one passport to each national . When passport holders apply for a new passport (commonly, due to expiration of an old passport or lack of blank pages), they may be required to surrender the old passport for invalidation. In some circumstances an expired passport is not required to be surrendered or invalidated (for example, if it contains an unexpired visa).

Under the law of most countries, passports are government property, and may be limited or revoked at any time, usually on specified grounds, and possibly subject to judicial review. In many countries, surrender of the passport is a condition of granting bail in lieu of imprisonment for a pending criminal trial.

Each country sets its own conditions for the issue of passports. Passports have a limited validity, usually between 5 and 10 years.

Many countries require a remaining passport validity of no less than six months on arrival, as well as having at least two to four blank pages. A friend of mine just found this out the hard way this year. She had to get new passports asap, because she was told by the airline that they will not let the person on the flight,if you don’t have the six month grace period, because the airline will get hit with a fee if they let you fly.

Since a few years now there is the biometric passport, I think since 2004. A biometric passport, also known as an e-passport, ePassport or a digital passport, is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers. It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or center page, of the passport.

The currently standardized biometrics used for this type of identification system are facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and iris recognition. These were adopted after assessment of several different kinds of biometrics including retinal scan. The ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation) defines the biometric file formats and communication protocols to be used in passports.

machine-readable-travel-documents-mrtd-biometric-passport-12-638

(source: http://www.slideshare.net/iamaproudindian/machine-readable-travel-documents-mrtd-biometric-passport)

A lot of information in a little piece of paper/ plastic. So you want to make sure you don’t loose it while you are traveling.

I found some nice traveling accessories on Zibbet and ArtYah. If you would like to take a closer look, just click on the picture. It will take you to the corresponding shop.


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Passport wallet
by HoneysuckleBarn

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
PASSPORT CASE, Passport cover, travel wallet, snap closure, two pockets
by JustMeToo

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Passport Cover//Cards & Tissues Holder/Handmade Mini Wallet/Travel Accessory
by TheSunshineBoutique

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Hot pink clutch, diva wallet, girls purse, travel wallet, black clutch
by RobynFayeDesigns

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
USA & Canada Map | Fabric map to sew or color | Travel embroidery kit
by Leeess

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
personalized leather passport holder & luggage tag in set, personalized travel set, personalized passenger’s set, leather passport cover
by Araga

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Passport Travel Journal, Ancient Map Diary, Adventure Old Geography Map, Diary of Europe Journey, My trip Journal, Log your Trip
by Dorothyjane

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Passport Travel Wallet, Rustic Leather Distressed Charcoal Black
by RusticLeather

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Silver Passport Charms
by Kraft Supplies 4 U

and here are the Etsy Passport items that I found, here the link for the treasury.

travel-with-my-passport

Ok, now I have done it. I am getting antsy to go and travel. We have not had a vacation in 5 years. I think it is about time that we go explore more of this wonderful planet again.

Guess it is time to get those passports done, so we are ready.

Where is your favorite place to travel to?