Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Graduation Sock Monkey

Sock Monkey Cake Topper - Candle Holder

It's that time of year again! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the students are Graduating
I am happy to introduce my newest sock monkey in honor of your upcoming Graduation Celebration
The sculpted Cake Topper - Candle Holder is my own invention
Dressed in his graduation cap and holding his newly earned diploma, the monkey topper sits proudly on the cake, holding your celebration candle on his fire-safe stack of books. He has promised to smile at your guests and keep your cake icing free of melted candle wax.
And his work doesn't stop when the party is over. Store him on your dresser, shelf, or display case. Perhaps next to a photo of your graduation, and he will bring back happy memories for years to come.
A 'Made-To-Order' item, your monkey topper will be sculpted to your specifications. Are you looking for a different color monkey, grad cap, or stack of books? No problem!
Do you want a personal inscription on the stack of books? I can do that too

Purchase your custom Graduation Monkey Topper HERE

Skipping the cake at your graduation celebration? Here are a few more Graduate monkeys for sale in my SHOP
(click on the photo to see it in my shop) Skipping the cake? I have a few other sock monkey graduate gifts in my shop

Sock Monkey Graduate Pen

Tiny Graduate Sock Monkey - Dollhouse Miniature

And don't forget to browse my full line of Handmade Sock Monkey Gifts HERE

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Military Survival Bracelets

Military Survival Bracelets, 550 Paracord Bracelets, Survival Straps...

It's all over the internet, your friends are wearing them, people are talking about them...

But WHAT ARE Survival Bracelets?

Military Survival Bracelets

Survival Bracelet, as the name implies, is a bracelet worn around the wrist, and can be taken apart in the event of emergency to aid in survival (read on)

Survival Bracelet History

Survival Bracelets are traditionally worn by service members deployed to the middle east, as a remembrance of POW/MIA in the Middle East since 9-11-01
Their true history originates in the days of World War II, Back when military flight was in its infancy, as was parachuting out of airplanes. Service members would carry around an extra length of parachute cord for emergency repairs during combat. Once in the field, service members found many additional uses for this strong and versatile cord. And what better place to keep a length of rope than wrapped around your wrist?
However, having lengths of rope dangling loosely around the wrist is dangerous in a combat situation (gear drift) and so the cord was braided using a simple cobra or similar weave, and secured with a button removed from ones uniform. The bracelet is easy and safe to wear, and can be unraveled when the cord is needed.
(My Personal Bracelet which I made in Iraq and wore throughout my deployment pictured on my uniform shirt)

Survival Bracelet in Action

The traditional survival bracelet is made from Military Grade 550 pound light-weight Nylon Parachute Cord (550 cord). AKA a useful bit of plastic. 550 Cord has a strong and colorful outer layer, and 7 very fine strands on the inside. A standard Survival Bracelet is woven from 1 continuous (or 2 fused if multi-colored) lengths of paracord, ranging from 8-12 feet depending on wrist size. The bracelet can be taken apart quite easily with the aid of a pocket knife

The outer cord is useful for tying up equipment, securing an impromptu shelter, and securing gear to a vehicle. The fine inner strands are thin yet very strong. (7 strands, that's 60-80 feet) They can be used for anything from fishing line, sewing thread, and even emergency stitches. Many commercial bracelet sellers will remove the inner strands for 'aesthetic' purposes. I prefer the authentic, albeit more bulky, traditional bracelet The traditional survival bracelet is secured with a uniform button. However, there are only so many buttons on ones uniform, and so many, including myself, have opted for a more durable plastic buckle.

Survival Bracelets Today

Survival bracelets today are no longer seen just among military personnel. Many civilians can be seen sporting these bracelets. Some wear them in honor of a family member in the service, while others are completely unaware of the military connection and simply wear them as a fashion statement, to show their school colors, or simply to wear a 'cool' accessory.

My Personal Connection with the Survival Bracelet

<-- That's me on ABOT, proudly wearing my Military Survival Bracelet

I was first introduced to the Survival Bracelet back in January 2010 when I deployed to the Middle East in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom which became Operation Enduring Freedom later that year.
As part of the Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces, my unit was deployed to provide security at Port Ashuaiba, Kuwait, to protect incoming military weapons and equipment; and to the Al Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT), Iraq, to provide security, and train the Iraqi's in security, in protecting the Oil Platform.
I saw one of the outgoing 'coasties' (US Coast Guard) making a bracelet, and I was hooked. I started with the simple 'desert tan' paracord (all we had out there) while I awaited the 'fancier' colors ordered from the states. I am the type of person that 'needs' to keep busy. Many working hours were spent peering out into the water, trying to see through the wet sandstorms coming off the coast, to detect potential enemy intruders. Let's just say I needed a non-distraction ie something to do to KEEP me from getting distracted.
And so I made bracelets. I made one for myself, then for my friends, and pretty soon most of the ABOT crew, (U.S. and some Iraqis) were sporting a 'colorful' Survival Bracelet
The 'official ruling' came down that the following colors were approved with our desert camouflage uniforms: Black, Desert Tan, Olive Drab, and any related combinations
Upon returning to the states I started to experiment with other colors, all of which can be seen HERE in my shop: