Solid Metal Memories

Summer means a lot of things. It’s summer vacation for kids. It’s swimming and outdoor sports season. Wedding season. And one of my favorites: it’s fest season! Festival season combines many of my favorite things: great live music, creative projects and people, great street food, and increasingly, unique and really amazing custom lapel pins! Whether it’s Burning Man or Disney World, pins are making a huge impact on the festival season.

Working with custom lapel pins means I run across a lot of pieces we’ve created for things 104_1klike fests over the years, and I’ve saved some of my favorites on my pin wall. Neon mosaic owls for Electric Forest; huge, beautiful rhinestone playas for Burning Man; anarchy symbols and religious declarations for conventions, realistic airplanes for EAA AirVenture, and a rainbow skull and crossbones for QueerCon. Their creativity, size and often playfulness make them absolutely some of my favorite pieces.

And at Disneyland they’ve made pin collecting a serious hobby, with thousands to choose from everywhere you go, and long-time collectors walking around with lanyards that weigh literally pounds, festooned with characters, anniversary pins, and event Rubber Duckcommemoration. Each lanyard is probably worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, and I guarantee you none of the people wearing them would trade them in for the money back. Lapel pins from fests or places like Disney are solid metal memories that can bring their owners back every time they look at them.

Do you have a custom pin collection? Or some other unique collection that you wouldn’t trade for any amount? We’d love to hear about it!

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Fly Girl

Happy birthday to Amelia Earhart! It was on this day back in 1897 that she was born in a small town in Kansas, and saw her first airplane exhibition at the age of ten in Iowa at a state fair. It took another 11 years before she finally got behind the controls of an airplane herself, but from the moment she began, she devoted herself to it entirely, and become the 16th woman in the world to get a pilot’s license.

And while she was not the first woman to get her pilot’s license, she quickly became the world’s most famous female pilot, earning the nickname “Lady Lindy” for her aviation prowess comparable to the famous male pilot, Charles Lindbergh. And throughout her-sadly short-career, she set records and inspired women everywhere not only to take to508 the skies if they so chose, but to not let social norms dictate their choices when it came to a career.

And her legacy lived on after her disappearance as women swarmed to join the military efforts of World War II, though the Air Force itself was not a formal body until after the War was over. By 1948 Women had their own air force affiliation, the Women of the Air Force or WAF. This organization remained intact until 1976 when women were finally admitted into the USAF on a completely equal standing to their male counterparts.

118 years after the birth of Ms. Earhart, we as women, and as a country, have come so far. Women are in every branch of the military, and all over the skies as commercial pilots and in the Air Force. And if there’s anything to be taken away from the amazing life of Amelia Earhart, it’s to follow your dreams, no matter where they take you, whether that means going thousands of feet into the air, all the way across the world, or keeps you exactly where you are. Dream big, and don’t give up. Happy Birthday, Amelia!

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Oh, Canada!

Happy Canada Day! Our neighbors to the north are celebrating their “birthday” just three days before America has its big patriotic blow-out this weekend. To be more specific though, Canada Day represents the day that the three individual colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the United Province of Canada merged into a singular body under the British North American Act of 1867. However it wasn’t until 1982 that Canada Day became an official Canadian holiday.

The subsequent 33 years have seen celebrations that are akin to what we see around the S188US on the 4th of July, with all number of patriotic parades, ceremonies, declarations of citizenship, fireworks, concerts and other festivities. However each locality has its own unique traditions associated with the day.

One thing you’re bound to see a ton of on this day, however, no matter where in the great country of Canada you find yourself, is the bright red maple leaf emblazoned on the white background of their beloved Canadian flag. While relatively young, having only been around since 1964, it took hold quickly and completely amongst the Canadian people and is instantly recognizable around the world when seen flown, or on t-shirts, flag pins or even when painted on the faces of Canadian sports fans.

And so with patriotism on my mind as Independence Day looms in the US, I want to wish all of Canada, and expats living elsewhere but keeping Canada in their thoughts, a hearty and heart-felt HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea that the Statue of Liberty had ever looked any different than she does today, standing on Bedloe’s Island in the New York harbor. I thought she had always been that uniquely blue green color. But no! When she first arrived in the US, as a gift from France to celebrate 100 years of American independence and also friendship with France, she came gleaming a bright copper, and in 214 different containers no less!

And after an arduous fundraising and construction period, she was complete, and dedicated on October 28, 1886, by then president Grover Cleveland. Since that day, Lady 353Liberty has seen over 12 million immigrants safely onto Ellis Island, has stood tall during two world wars and almost countless other conflicts, and has survived weather, civil unrest, and of course, the tragedy that hit New York on September 11th, 2001. Throughout it all, and to this day, she represents the view of America as seen by those entering for the first time, and those who have always known her as their own: a symbol of freedom, welcome, opportunity and hope.

Today, Lady Liberty, as she’s informally known, is seen on everything from t-shirts, shrunken down statuettes, postcards, lapel pins and lanyards, and even on a fair number of American bodies in the form of tattoos! She is just as much a symbol of freedom and hope as she has ever been, and for a lady going on 129, I think she’s never looked better.

Have you ever visited the Statue of Liberty? If so we’d love to hear your story of what it was like, and how you felt!

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Old Glory indeed!

Flag Day is upon us again! Both politicians and real patriots alike live for days like this, when they can pull out their American Flag lapel pins and wear them with extra pride. But how many of you out there know what the heck Flag Day is? Other than the day to stake your American Flag lawn ornaments out, to be left until after Labor Day. It’s actually the US Flag’s birthday, and for being 238 years old this year, I’d say it’s looking really good.

Back in 1777, our brand new country, all 13 colonies of it, was bursting out with pride after 1116winning, tenuously, its independence from the British Crown, and one of the first things every country (or organization, club, or punk rock band) needs is a logo, a flag, a symbol to unite everyone. This was decided upon on the 14th of June 1777 after 10 previous versions of our flag, some very similar to what we see today (minus a bunch of stars, obviously) and some way off, sans blue color entirely! But after returning to the drawing board ten times, they felt confident that they had it right on try number 11. And from then on, up until 1959 when Hawaii’s 50’s star was added, our flag grew in stars but kept its 13 stripes, and for the last 56 years we’ve pledged allegiance to the same familiar flag.

Who knows what our flag will look like in another 100 years, but this year, don’t hold out sharing your flag pride. American Flag lapel pins, lawn ornaments, shirts, hats, kerchiefs for Spot and actual flags are all welcome, and part of this amazing, ever-evolving country we call home. Happy Flag Day!

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Happy Decoration Day!… Er, Memorial Day!

Did you know? Memorial Day started out as “Decoration Day” during the aftermath of the American Civil War, as a way to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died in shockingly short order, during the second half of the 19th century, would not be forgotten. The origin of this practice is hard to pin down, but it was originally celebrated in northern states on May 30th, which specifically did not coincide with any battle, so that all soldiers could be honored equally. For reasons of their own, the South celebrated their own Decoration Day on a date different from the North.

By World War One though, Decoration Day had become Memorial Day, and was celebrated all over the country on the last Monday in May. It was also at this time that Memorial Day grew to encompass the fallen soldiers of all wars, not just the Civil War. And in a fit of passion, an army doctor wrote “Flanders Fields” after presiding over the funeral of a fallen1507 soldier, and the vivid imagery of the poppy flower as nature’s memorial to the dead became a worldwide emblem of Memorial Day, and was then adopted for Veteran’s Day as well.

Today, Memorial Day is a celebration of fallen soldiers certainly, but it is also a day to celebrate America’s freedom, and to help veterans through the sale of poppy flowers, often provided by vets themselves in all number of places in every city and town in the US. And the poppy has certainly become the emblem of Memorial Day, emblazoned on everything from table cloths to bright red poppy lapel pins. Many organizations make special edition poppy versions of their products, with proceeds going towards veterans affairs organizations.

I’m personally a big fan of Memorial Day, not only because it’s a wonderful thing to remember the men and women in this country who gave literally everything they had to preserve the freedoms we enjoy every day, but also because it falls right next to, and sometimes on, my birthday. So poppies for me are both memorial and celebratory (and the paid vacation day isn’t a bad birthday gift!). And if you can’t find someone selling poppies around this Memorial Day, be sure to to check us out: our poppy lapel pins are a great tribute.

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Armed Forces Day is Here!

I sort of think of Armed Forces day as the pre-game holiday to Memorial Day, which falls on the 25th of May this year. Think about it: you get to celebrate every branch of the service with varying levels of activity, from parades to discounts and freebies at local businesses, and tokens of appreciation like flags and military lapel pins. The only thing it doesn’t have is a day off from work. But one thing it DOES have is that it is celebrated all over the world, though not on the same day in each country. From Argentina to Venezuela, 1507Armed Forces day is a recognized day of thanks to service men and women.

In Bulgaria it is also known as a Day of Bravery, and is celebrated on May 6th. In France it’s held on July 14 and boasts the largest and oldest military parade in all of Europe! And right here in the USA it has been celebrated during Armed Services week since the 1950’s. It was a way to support, promote, and celebrate all members of the American military, past, present and future.

Because this holiday is celebrated in big and little ways all over the country, there’s no wrong way to do it. Whether you put flags out on your lawn, donate to a military charity, wear military lapel pins or simply thank the vets and service men and women in your life, you’re doing it right! And we at PinMart want to thank all the past and present service men and women for their sacrifices: we’re the land of the free because you’re so brave!

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Teacher? Nurse? Today is your day!

Are you a teacher? Or perhaps you’re a nurse? Then today is your day! May 6th is National Teacher’s Day, and also National Nurse’s Day! And to be honest, as unique as both professions are, there are some overlaps that make both teachers and nurses some of the 711best people.

For instance, both teachers and nurses take care of us. Teachers look after our brains, nurses our bodies (unless you’re a nurse working with a brain surgeon…) but both want to make sure we’re doing the best that we can, and living our best lives. Both teachers and nurses work long hours and often put in way more than the typical 40 hour work weeks to make sure that we have bright futures. And both teachers and nurses often do all of this work without much in the way of a thank you. That ends NOW!

From PinMart to all the Teachers and Nurses out there, wherever you are: THANK YOU! 708revYou made sure we could read and write, and you patched us up when we tested our limits on the playground. You gave us the wisdom to become who we are and keep us healthy so we can keep doing what we do.

So for everyone out there who knows and loves a teacher or a nurse (so… everyone), take time today to thank your favorite educator or nurse, give them a hug, or better yet, a great lapel pin to show your gratitude.

Whatever you decide to do, do it today!

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May-Day, May-Day!

Tomorrow starts a new month, and with that new month, a new set of causes, holidays, celebrations and commemorations. It’s a lot to keep track of, especially if your business or organization is counted on to know about these things, promote them, celebrate them or raise awareness about them. I’m one of those people myself, counted on to know what’s going on on a given week or day, and honestly, I’d be lost if it weren’t for a really handy, but under-promoted page on PinMart’s website: The Awareness Calendar!

This calendar, which we update throughout the year to reflect the most accurate dates and distinctions of given holidays or awareness causes, is definitely my event calendar. It gives me a heads up on when to wear my American flag lapel pin (though I could argue that that’s a good one to wear every day!), gives me a clue as to why people are suddenly 850wearing puzzle piece lapel pins (Autism awareness in April), and when to get my dad’s father’s day card to him (June 15th). Our Cause/Awareness calendar is really thorough, and also provides good ideas on pins that can help you represent and celebrate anything upcoming.

May’s a big one, with National Teacher’s Day, National Nurse’s Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and let’s not forget about Cinco De Mayo, to name but a few important happenings over the next 31 days.

And whether you get decked out in lapel pins for all of these events, or just give your thanks and support with words and actions, check out the Awareness Calendar to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Happy May!

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Earth Day Turns 45!

Earth Day 2015 marks 45 years of celebrating this one of a kind planet that we call home. Started in 1970 as a reaction to a horrible oil spill, Earth Day organizations have spawned not only grass-roots movements but also helped bring to life the EPA, and many laws that protect both the land and the wildlife we share this earth with.

And despite being in its 45th year, the purposes behind Earth day are more important now than they ever were. Every year we have more tools with which to protect earth and to decrease our carbon footprint, and every year we need to start creating new eco-friendly habits, and inspiring others to do the same. But don’t get daunted: you can take small 710steps that will lead to big changes down the road.

Consider volunteering at a recycling center, or organizing a local recycling drive. Take the time to locate all of the local addresses and phone numbers for recycling facilities, and what they offer, and share that information at school, at work, and your extra curricular activities. Because sometimes the biggest thing holding people back from change is researching the who, what, when, where, and how.

Even just doing something as simple as wearing eco-green pins to spread the word and start conversations with people can help inspire change. PinMart has an entire line of pins that are made from recycled materials, and can be worn year round to remind others to do their part on Earth Day, and Every Day.

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