The Vocal Focal Swap

by Cindy on May 4, 2012

Hello friends

Today I’m participating in a fun little blog hop hosted by Bonnie Coursolle of Jasper’s Gems.  I have really enjoyed all of the absolutely creative swap, hop, and challenge ideas that this community is dreaming up!  I wish I could participate in more, but this is the last for a while….well, until the Button Swap Blog Hop in one week! 🙂


Bonnie’s Vocal Focal swap was fun and easy.  In the Vocal Focal Swap, Bonnie put a spotlight on what is very often the heart of a jewelry design.   We were paired up and set off to send our partners a focal bead.  The great part about this swap was sending something pretty to someone I didn’t know, and receiving a surprise in the mail in return.   No challenge to create anything with out focal beads,  just to enjoy the trade.


My partner was Ginger Bishop who happens to be overseas in Japan.  It turns out I have a lot in common with Ginger, being born in Japan myself, and she’s also a Mom of a little boy.  Ginger sent me a beautiful dragon focal that she purchased locally. I thought it was the perfect focal to receive from Okinawa!   I’m planning to create a necklace on leather for one of my son’s upcoming birthday.


Ginger sent me a sweet little wooden Kokeshi doll along with my package.  I have a few already and now I see a collection starting….  You can learn  a little about the background of these dolls here.  Thank you so much, Ginger!


It must have been serendipity that my focal partner happened to be in Japan, as today happens to be a Japanese holiday: Children’s Day or Kodomo no Hi!  The 5th day of the 5th month was traditionally the Boy’s Day festival but now it is for all children, celebrating their health, growth, and happiness.


Carp streamers (koinobori) made from paper and cloth are used for decorations, and can be seen “swimming” in the wind throughout Japan.  A black carp is flown for the father, red for the mother, and each son in the family – ranging in size from oldest to youngest.   Now I would sure have a colorful porch if I did this…maybe next year!

I have read that carp symbolizes strength, coming from Japanese folklore.  A carp that swims upstream, demonstrating perserverance, becomes a dragon (my focal comes in to play!).


One of my aunts in Japan happened to send me this picture she found on the web this week – this is Tsuetate hot springs, where the carp festival originated. She has traveled here several times.  I would love to see the sight of thousands of streamers in the springtime as well!


Happy Children’s Day to our kids, whether they are teeny tiny or all grown up.


Here are the Vocal Focal participants – let’s see the focals that have found their way to new homes!

Cindy Wimmer    sweet bead studio
Ginger Bishop    Lilmummy Likes

Bonnie Coursolle       Jasper’s Gems
Andra Weber     Andra’s Joyful Journey

Renetha Stanziano     Lamplight Crafts
Lori Finney     Using My Beads

Shirley Moore     Beads and Bread
Kashmira Patel    Sadulfee…..always in Bloom!

Maybeline Tay     The Jewelry Larder 
Dee Torcherer Elgie      Cherry Obsidia

Bonnie Coursolle       Jasper’s Gems
Rhonda Baird   Design and Conquer

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Maybeline May 5, 2012 at 12:41 am

Ohayo! Pendant ?????????! Hehehe… I currently taking lessons to brush up my Nihongo. One of the great things about participating in swaps is to know more friends. When Dee and I chatted, we found out that we have a lot in common too. Both of us r fans of Kitty Chan. ^_^

Maybeline May 5, 2012 at 1:38 am

Hi. I just realize that the comment engine might not accept hiragana characters I have typed in my earlier comment. Gomen ne… I meant to say “Pedant wa totemo kirei desu!”

Ginger B May 5, 2012 at 4:55 am

Well I love it! Yes, the carp flags are flying here in Okinawa as well. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Bonnie May 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Your son is going to love having a necklace with that fabulous dragon focal. I’m glad you were able to join in the fun this time.

Lynsey Brooks May 5, 2012 at 7:48 am

What a beautiful focal, I love dragons and Japanese art.
I must apologize Cindy, it appears that blogger deleted you from my blog list, (how very dare they), and I have missed many of your posts, It was yesterday that I was thinking that I hadn’t seen a post from you for a while, which is most irregular. I’m happy to have you back in my feed 🙂

Vicki May 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

Cindy, Beautiful dragon focal and I loved reading about Japan. I never did get there so it is still on my to do list. Happy Childrens Day. 🙂

Laura Twiford May 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

I just LOVE tradition, but you knew that didn’t you 🙂 this was nice a nice post to read and such a cool focal to play with! I’ll have to go read about that little doll now. have a great weekend!

LoriF May 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Fabulous focals, Cindy! How neat that you were partnered with someone who shares some background….love that little doll, I’m going to have to search out some of those, and the dragon is wonderful too! What a neat focal for a male. Looking forward to seeing your creations!

Alice May 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm

How fun to be paired up with Ginger! I love the focal she sent you, and the

And is it only one week before the Button Swap Blog Hop? Yikes, all I have is a design idea. I’d better get busy!!!!

Alice May 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

OK, so I don’t know what happened to part of my response above. It was supposed to say ‘and the Kokeshi Doll she sent you’. Uggh, I’m moving too fast.

Lori Anderson May 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

When I traveled to Japan I was there for the Boys Day celebration and loved the flags. Looking forward to seeing what you make with the dragon!

kim May 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

You would have the most colorful porch on the block! Have fun creating.

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement May 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I have a fascination with Japan, so anything that comes from there or anything that I can learn-traditions, holidays, customs, etc-I drink up like an empty sponge! 🙂

That being said, I’m pretty jealous of that gorgeous dragon and that cute little Kokeshi Doll you got ^.^

Hopefully you’ll post about what you make with that pendant!!

Patti Vanderbloemen May 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

You received not one, but two fascinating treasures! Thank you for posting the link related to the history of those dolls! You put so much thought into your posts! Cam’t wait to see your completed necklace!

Kashmira Patel May 6, 2012 at 2:42 am

Oh your son is so going to love tht dragon!

Are you Japanese, or just born in Japan?

Cindy May 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! 🙂 My swap partner and the focal I received sure made me happy!
Kashmira, I was born in Japan and I am half Japanese. 🙂

Therese May 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Cindy,
Ginger sent you a beautiful dragon pendant and I am sure your Son is going to love it. The little doll is very pretty and sweet looking I can see why you would want to collect these items. I have just recently met Ginger through Beading Babes and she is a very creative, sweet, and lovely person. So glad you were paired with someone you have things in common with other then beading.

Cynthia@OrnamentalStyle May 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Fabulous dragon pendant! And one lucky birthday boy. I didn’t know you were born in Japan and are half Japanese! I was raised on Guam and have been to Japan twice. Once when I was 12 and my sister and I stayed with a Japanese family for a week (maybe two). The second time was my senior class trip. Forty girls and a handful of nuns! Too cool! What part of Japan and how old were you when you moved to the states? I’ve been to Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Hakone.

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