Archive for the 'Americana' Category...
Filed under Americana
THE SUMMER IS BEGINNING to wane and what could be more appreciated throughout most of the country than the prospect of temperatures finally dropping and balmy afternoons finally returning. The incredibly sweltering vacation season 2010 is just about over! The kids are returning to school. Great activity is starting up, as opera houses, music halls; theatrical productions all ready themselves for another season. It’s as if energy was returning to the earth.
Of course, Labor Day is much more than just relief from too much sun. It was established in 1894 to celebrate America’s working class and to show appreciation for their contributions to the prosperity and success of our nation.
Parades are held in towns big and small around the country, flags are proudly flown, unions put on their best manners, and even TV news shows get in on the action with stories about the American worker circa the New Millennium Plus.
ONE OF THE NICE THINGS about Labor Day is that it is still summer. So kids can go swimming, Bar-B-Que can be happily stoked up, and picnics as well as all kinds of outdoor living and recreational activities can be enjoyed to the maximum. This is the last big weekend of the season, and everybody is anxious to live it up on a grand scale.
AMERICAN FLAGS AND FLAG SYMBOLS MAKE THIS DAY EVEN MORE SPECIAL. CHOOSE THE ONES YOU LIKE BEST:
A Call to Fall
LABOR DAY IS A “CALL TO FALL.” It is a time to review wardrobes, a time to refresh them with timely, trendy items that fit the new cooler season. Scarves, shawls, even ponchos work particularly well now; they allow for the continued use of summer clothes, enriched by warm wools and cozy wraps. Hot in that arena are stripes and prints, metallic threads to give the overall pattern a certain cache, and fringe galore. Darker colors generally bespeak the new season; think about grays, browns, deep blues and greens. A really great look includes a skinny belt to hold a shawl to the body.
As Fall comes in, a new cross body little bag is a great wardrobe waker-upper. Wear it on Labor Day itself to start everything off with pizzaz! When putting an outfit together this year, remember that the waist is a major focal point of fashion. Work with belts, chains, anything that will emphasize the figure. Think also about skinny legs with tight jeans, leggings, stockings and fancy socks. Lace is a particularly hot material in this category.
—But don’t lose sight of the ever changing fashion picture here: Dropped crotch pants are reportedly on the horizon and could radically change the silhouette. Our vote, however, is that they’ll never, NEVER replace those sexy tight leg looks young women are so crazy about!
LABOR DAY IS ALSO a time to plan for the upcoming season and year. Retailers can make good use of the time by planning out new purchases, and thinking about creative new ways to make present inventory more attractive and timely.
—And what about store space? Is it good looking? Does it bring in customers? Does it excite them to buy? How About your web site? Is it “edgy?” Forward looking? Do you change and update it frequently? These are just some of the questions to answer in a review for bigger and better sales ahead.
Labor Day is the perfect time to put together a new package for business. And this year, with a questionable economy and cautious customers, new planning has never been more important. This is no time to pull back; it is a time to forge ahead with optimism and studied understanding of where you are going and how you can best serve your customers now.
It takes work, yes. But isn’t work what Labor Day is all about? It’s a celebration of work, not just for itself, but for all it brings to you, your customers, your community. Have a great Day!
WHILE YOU ARE ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY, CONSIDER ADDING SOME OF THESE TERRIFIC ITEMS TO YOUR FALL PRODUCT LIST:
Filed under Americana
Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
JULY 4, 1776: The Official Beginning of the American Revolution. That’s our country’s all-American rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ date, July 4, 1776.
–But: battlefield fighting in the American Revolutionary War began over a year earlier, in April 1775, up in Massachusetts! And, at the outset, most colonists actually wanted to remain loyal to King George III and believed the colonies should continue as part of the British Empire. But Britain was brutal and abusive, and colonists gradually changed their attitude.
It was England’s overbearing effort to extract money from the American colonies (the Stamp Act and many other crippling taxes) that fueled the colonists’ zeal for independence and self-determination. And the King’s punitive Prohibatory Act (Feb. 1776) that formed a blockade of American seaports and targeted American ships as “enemy vessels” didn’t help the British in the least.
What our Founding Fathers decided was to create and publish a “declaration of independence” that would clearly state our position, our grievances against England, and our right to revolution.
This would be a document presented to the colonists, England and the major countries of Europe.
THINK ABOUT IT: Thirteen young colonies challenging England’s right to rule (and exploit) them, taking on one of the then strongest naval/military complexes in the world. Definitely a David and Goliath match. What resulted was a stirring manuscript, the Declaration of Independence, expressing the American philosophy that:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Just to be sure all parties understood, a lengthy listing of grievances against the British Crown was set out in the Declaration. The following is but a brief, explicit excerpt:
He (King George III) has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns
and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat
the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with the circumstances
of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Wow. There’s no mincing of words there, or elsewhere in the complete document. And finally,
these extraordinary, courageous men all signed their names, knowing that if the struggle for independence was unsuccessful, they would all surely be executed as traitorous revolutionaries. Their closing statement:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other
our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
And then, one by one, they took pen in hand, and each placed his signature to the Declaration of Independence. The famous John Hancock signature is almost five inches long!
NO WONDER WE CELEBRATE THE 4TH EACH YEAR with parades and flags and fireworks and speeches. Our country was founded by men of sterling character who were willing to sacrifice everything for what they knew was right.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY TO DISPLAY THE FLAG AND ADD A PATRIOTIC PALETTE TO PARTIES AND PICNICS THIS JULY 4TH. HERE ARE SOME RED/WHITE/BLUE WINNERS:
MANY FAMILIES TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR THE 4TH. According to
a press release from the National Archives, it will celebrate the 234th anniversary of the adoption
of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program.
The celebration will include patriotic music and free family activities and entertainment for all
ages. Following the morning celebration, the first-ever National Archives float will launch the
National Independence Day Parade in front of the National Archives Building at 11:45 a.m.
The National Archive celebration highlights include: Meeting Thomas Jefferson and signing a
Facsimile of the Declaration. (The original signed Declaration is featured in Archive exhibit.)
Evan Hughes will sing our National Anthem .There will be a dramatic reading of the
Declaration of Independence by historical reenactors. Attendees can write their grievances in
Revolutionary manner with a quill pen. And: All can sign a facsimile of the Declaration of
WHEREVER YOU CELEBRATE, FEEL THE PRIDE OF HOW WE BEGAN, AND WHAT OUR FOREBEARS ACCOMPLISHED. BASIC TO ALL THIS IS DISPLAYING OUR FLAG. CHOOSE THE SIZE THAT WILL SERVE YOUR ACTIVITY:
- American Flag with 2 eyelets for hanging. 34” x 61”. Suitable
for outdoor use. A number of other sizes/types available.
- Rhinestone American Flag Pin. Beautiful colors, gold plated.
Wear it with pride.
Filed under Americana
Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Who doesn’t want to celebrate the Fourth of July with barbecued hot dogs, Boston baked beans, Coca Cola, patriotic music, and – what else? – FIREWORKS! This is what every small and grown up kid is waiting for, the fabulous Fourth with its equally fabulous fireworks displays. Are you ready for it?
FIREWORKS WERE INVENTED IN CHINA back in the 12th Century, actually as an offshoot of its invention of gunpowder. The Chinese originally used fireworks to scare away evil spirits, but later their power, roar, and awesome brilliance made it obvious how ideal fireworks would be for celebrations.
To this day, the Chinese use fireworks for all sorts of occasions, most notably their fabulous New Year and Harvest Moon Festivals, when the country really proves its expertise with these incendiary giants. Understandably, China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.
Rockets and Bomb Blasts
THERE ARE BASICALLY TWO TYPES of fireworks ground and air. The first usually employs a specially rigged frame — like the shape of an American flag or maybe the bust of George Washington — that sizzles into firey recognition before a mesmerized crowd. The later involves fireworks that are shot into the air with eardrum bursting sound and light and color.
Rockets make fireworks spectacular! Wow! That’s what we use in today’s world, mostly: aerial shells that explode and explode and reverberate and light up the sky in the most glorious, breathtaking fashion.
IF YOU PLAN ON ATTENDING A FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU MIGHT WEAR. YOU JUST CAN’T GET TOO NATIONALISTIC ON THIS DAY, AND YOU JUST CAN’T WEAR TOO MUCH RED, WHITE, AND BLUE. HERE ARE SOME FUN ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
- Rich, silk-feel polyester men’s ties. They boast a blue field with white stars down one side, and waving red and white stripes down the other. Handsome, and wrinkle-resistant!
- An American apple pendant. This is really charming! It features the stars and stripes on a silver-plated apple pendant that can be kept and worn for many years to come.
Believed in Our Destiny
It’s interesting to think about the optimism of the early American pioneers: They used fireworks long before the Revolutionary War was even fought. The first Independence Day celebration with fireworks was in 1777 – 6 years before we actually won the war and became a nation.
—But we believed in our own destiny and we used fireworks to underscore it. What a dynamite idea!
Today, there are so many shapes and forms of fireworks, it is mind boggling. A Dahlia, for example, is a spherical splash of brilliantly colored fire stars, and few real firework displays are without many of them. A Ring is a rocket that, when shot off, forms a fire-y ring of stars.
IN ADDITION TO THESE spectaculars, there is an endless variety of ground fireworks that can be custom made to fit any occasion or locale. In fact, there are numerous companies in the United States alone that specialize in commercial fireworks displays, complete with just about any size and shape the customer might want.
WHILE YOU ARE ENJOYING THIS YEAR’S FIREWORKS, WHY NOT EQUIP YOURSELF WITH SOME REAL AMERICANA TO HEIGHTEN THE FUN? SOME IDEAS:
- An Americana cuff bracelet. This can make your Fourth ensemble come to life! Features pearlized seed beads strung on springy wire and colored red, white, and blue. It makes a great statement of pride in the USA!
- American flags on sticks. This is something to get for your whole family. And friends. The inimitable stars and stripes to hold up and wave and feel good about.
Around the World
ALL AROUND THE WORLD, fireworks at one time or another are literally lighting up the sky. Here in the United States, we have many such occasions, but none quite equal the Fourth of July extravaganzas. Millions of spectators in New York City look to the sky to witness Macy’s annual Independence Day celebration, with fireworks shot off from 6 barges in the East River and the Hudson.
This is when New York literally goes wild, and the sky above rumbles and explodes and lights up with color and light – it is a dazzling display, to the say the least. Even the many planes that fly over this busy metropolis have to be rerouted for nearly an hour as the fireworks blaze on!
At the same time, in Nashville, Tennessee, a fireworks spectacular called Let Freedom Ring explodes along the banks of the Cumberland River, just as fireworks proclaim our national holiday all across the land.
NOTHING, HOWEVER, REALLY COMPARES to Washington D.C for a real July Fourth celebration, when over 40,000 shells explode at a rate of 1,500 per minute! With all the splash and splendor of the Day, the real action comes at the end of the Big Show, held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. After we have been entertained by a dazzling collection of the nation’s top stars and celebrities then,
— the band strikes up the moving strains of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the majestically wild fireworks begin, exploding in time to the music, one after the other, after the other…OH! OH !OH! This is the meaning of thrilling!
Filed under Americana
Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, June 20th, 2009
JUNE 14TH IS FLAG DAY! It’s a wonderful day for waving Old Glory and remembering all that the red, white, and blue has meant to our nation for so many years. It’s a celebration to enjoy, a run-up to the glorious Fourth of July, and the beginning of a summertime of picnics, swimming, sunning, and all things light and happy. This is the time to get out the flag and put it up, on a pole, on your car, even on your mailbox. Take your picture in front of it. Celebrate! All of us. Because we’re all in this together.
The American Flag’s design has changed 16 times since its inception on July 4th, 1777, but its basic framework has remained consistent. That is:
13 horizontal stripes alternating in red and white and representing the
original colonies/states, with the flag canton (upper left hand corner)
showing a collection of 5-pointed stars –one for each present state —
emblazoned in a blue field.
YOU CAN JOIN IN THE FUN OF FLAG DAY. LET AN AMERICAN FLAG FLY AT YOUR HOUSE OR WORKPLACE.
- Great for outdoor displays on a pole, this 34″ X 61″ polyester flag is great for all kinds of outdoor activities, from picnics to birthday parties.
- 6″ X 8″ flags on a stick can be small sized bombshells. Sell them in quantity to your business customers for all sorts of marketing benefits. They work wonders when paired with a business card and left on home owners’ front porches
Truth or Fiction?
LEGEND HAS IT Betsy Ross was commissioned by George Washington to help design and sew the first flag for the Continental Armies. Washington supposedly asked for a banner with six-pointed stars but Ross, it is said, wanted five-pointed stars because they could be made with just one snip of the scissors. Washington eventually beat the britches off the British, but he lost his encounter with Ross. Five-sided stars it was, and the American Flag was born!
–But, you might ask, did that actually happen? Well…nobody knows for sure. In fact, it is not even certain that Betsy Ross made the flag, even though she did sew banners for many groups.
THE PRESENT 50-STAR VERSION of the American flag has been in use since July 4th, 1960. It was designed in 1958 as a class project by an 18-year old student named Robert G. Heft. As it happens, his teacher didn’t think that much of the design, giving him only a B-minus for his effort. “Well,” he asked, “suppose it is chosen to be the new American Flag?” Laughing at the very possibility, his teacher agreed she would then “reevaluate” his grade.
As it turns out, Congress had a higher opinion of the design than Heft’s teacher, voting for it with enthusiasm. In 1959, by Presidential proclamation, a new American flag was ready to fly, and Heft’s grade was raised to an A, making everybody a winner!
FLAGS DON’T EVER SEEM TO LOSE THEIR LUSTER OR POPULARITY.
- Promote your flag collection to local schools, suggesting they give one to each student. Or
- Suggest to the school administration that small flags be awarded to young students who excel in specific subjects, such as reading or arithmetic.
The Stars and Stripes
FEW BANNERS ARE ASSOCIATED with such dramatic events as the American Flag. The country’s national anthem was based on a poem by Francis Scott Key and tells of the flag’s surviving a bitter nightlong bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, by the British Royal Navy during the War of 1812. It is a harrowing and yet thrilling verbal portrait!
A photograph of the flag being raised by five marines and a navy corpsman during the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II also dramatically documents an image of the flag, one that has been indelibly etched in the American consciousness.
–And who can ever forget the sight of the American Flag on the surface of the moon? Everyone, worldwide, has seen it!
In 2001, the visual history of the flag took a sad turn. Most Americans responded in disbelief to the picture of a tattered and torn American flag flying over the rubble and devastation of New York’s World Trade Center. Still, in silence and strength, it became an overnight symbol that America could and would endure.
REMEMBERING OUR MOMENTS OF FAME AND TRAGEDY, OPEN YOURSELF TO FLAG DISPLAY THIS YEAR. YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM MANY:
- An 8″ X 10″ flag is ideal for your work desk. You might also want to display it on the front dashboard of your car.
- An American flag tack pin. This small pin is similar to the one worn by the President and members of Congress following 9-11.
Filed under Americana
Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, May 9th, 2009
RUNNING FOR OFFICE: The race for the White House has been in full frenzy for months now. Obama and McCain will soon be anointed official presidential candidates and then the fight and fury will really break out, complete with buttons and pins, bumper stickers and T-shirts, hats, ties, scarves, and more. Their purpose: to advertise political points of view with names and slogans, sneers and bravado. This is the big Campaign 2008, and it is going to be different from every other campaign that has gone before it.
To start with, expect souvenirs and memorabilia to be in hot demand this year. Not that that is something new, campaign memorabilia has long been the motivation for the start- up and expansion of numerous retail businesses. But this year, interest is expected to soar as the nation considers the possibility of electing its first black President less than 150 years after the repeal of slavery.
Buttons are the most popular and most collectible electoral paraphernalia. People wear the buttons to show which candidate they plan to vote for. Historically, the most popular was the Eisenhower “I Like Ike” button from 1952. Going back further, we find that the first buttons to surface in the United States commemorated George Washington’s inauguration and carried the initials GW, with the statement, Long Live The President. Today, these other-era collectibles are much in demand, with an average value of about $1,000. The buyers, like former President Bill Clinton, are usually people who love history.
ELEPHANTS AND DONKEYS: Collectors of election memorabilia usually focus on specific subject matter. Some collect pins representing the two different political parties, such as elephant and donkey pins. These can be extremely well crafted and full of personality. If you are looking for 2008 buyers for these captivating pieces, think about more than just individuals. Clubs and other organizations often purchase political party pins in bulk! There are also buyers who choose memorabilia about specific presidents. The most popular are Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy. Once this year’s election is over, you can expect to see a major uptick in demand for buttons promoting whoever is the winning candidate!
Slogans are always hot for electioneering. This year, the word CHANGE outruns all others, so look for it on buttons, pins, you name it. Obama started the concept up, Hillary latched on to it, and now even McCain is proclaiming his candidacy in those terms.
Patriotic motifs like swords or eagles represent another highly collectible area. Certainly the biggest of these (since 9/11 especially) is the American Flag and wow! Is Campaign 2008 ever big for this pin. Big and, we might add, wildly controversial. McCain has always worn a flag pin, using it, among other things, as an anti-terrorist symbol. But Obama has only worn the pin on and off.
FLAG PIN FRENZY: Back in April of this year, a voter asked Obama why he wasn’t wearing a flag pin on his lapel and he said that he had noticed “people wearing lapel pins but not acting very patriotic.” It was a response that didn’t go down well. Republicans lambasted him, and right-wing voters across the country called him unpatriotic The upshot of it all: Obama now wears a flag pin on his lapel every day.
Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, July 21st, 2008