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The Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 1)
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 2)

What a difference a day makes! Like I wrote in my last entry, I briefly attended the second day of the festival due in large part to the rain. The third day of the festival was different. It was sunny outside, the temperature reached into the low 70’s, and the humidity was low as well. It was the perfect outdoor weather for the festival!

When I arrived at the festival I saw that the STEM center Makerspace 125 had created a small miniature golf course consisting of handmade decorations that were miniature replicas of various Greenbelt landmarks and the local wildlife.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

This mini golf course was especially a big hit with the kids.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Even though the third day fell on a Sunday, I blew off church that morning because I wanted to make sure that I would arrive at the Greenbelt Museum on time for another event I wanted to take part in. This year the Greenbelt Museum was the site for the Retro Town Fair, which was the first time I participated in it since 2014.

I submitted two hand-knitted clothes for dolls. One was the funky “fur” coat for 1/6 dolls, which I had my Blythe doll model mainly because she was the one doll I had who looked best wearing it. The other was the Alice’s Tea Party knitted dress for 18-inch dolls. I had my Addy Walker doll model it because she looked like those African American church ladies I frequently see in my area on Sundays walking in public all dressed up in their finest dresses and hats (or a hair accessory).

Basically I had to submit my entries between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. then wait until between 2-4 p.m. before I can see the entire Retro Town Fair. So I submitted my entries then walked back to the main part of the Labor Day Festival where I hung around for a bit while I ordered a giant crab pretzel for lunch from one of the food booths. After lunch I walked back to the Greenbelt Museum while I took these pictures.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I came upon my dolls and I found that I won two white 3rd place ribbons. I was pretty happy with that award even though the organizers had them laying down the entire time. (I guess it was probably easier to display them that way without worrying about them falling down.)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

The festival area was full of people once again since Tropical Storm Harvey went away. Here are some pictures I took.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

The bingo tables were reopened as well with people eagerly playing bingo.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

There was this very long line at the ice cream stand.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

There were a couple of pint-sized Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

That day was also the first day of the Craft Fair, where the vendors were blessed with ideal weather for selling their handcrafted wares.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

What was really wild is that I got lucky when I met a prominent person whom I’ve seen on TV a few times (back in the days when I still had cable television). The former head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is running for Maryland governor in next year’s mid-term elections and he was at the festival talking to the people and asking them for their opinions. Here are a couple of pictures I took of him.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

If he gets elected next year, I’ll definitely have these photos to show people while telling them “I met Governor Jealous when I was at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival back in 2017.” (LOL!)

Makerspace 125 had a busy day. Not only were the volunteers there running the miniature golf course but they were also putting the final finishing touches on their parade float for the next day. When I was there, they were making giant LEGO blocks.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I even went to the Greenbelt Theater, which was running classic cartoons (Superman, Betty Boop, Popeye, and various Looney Tunes shorts) for free on the big screen.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I walked back to the Greenbelt Museum where I picked up my dolls and my award ribbons then I headed back home feeling exhausted yet happy at all the good things I experienced that day.

Next in This Series

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 4)

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Like I wrote earlier, I’m participating in two separate events at this weekend’s Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland starting this afternoon at 1 p.m. (when the Art Show formally opens to the public for the first time). I took advantage of the four-artpiece limit by displaying a combination of old and new art, starting with my acrylic painting, Desire.

Desire

Desire
Acrylic on canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
23 cm x 30 cm

Desire is the oldest of my paintings in this show. It was the one that I originally painted while I was recuperating from my hip replacement back in late 2008 based on my photograph of my in-laws’ dog, Jay-Jay, while he was begging for a snack that I was eating at the time (during one of my many visits to their home in Phoenix that I made with my then-husband before our marriage broke up). I originally displayed this painting at Artomatic in 2009 then I gave it to my husband’s mother and step-father as a Christmas present later that year. (We gave it to them during a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.) My mother-in-law passed away in 2010—just four months after we gave them that painting. When my husband’s step-father decided to move to a smaller apartment in a retirement community during the summer of 2011, he had to drastically downsize his possessions so he gave the painting back to us. When my husband left me in late 2011, that painting was among the many things he had left behind with me. I’ve displayed Desire at a few local shows in the years since (the most recent was the one in Baltimore last summer) but this will be the first time this painting will be displayed at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. You can read more about the making of this painting in a blog post I wrote back in 2011.

The second artwork is a piece I did for a contest last year where we had to create our art using a tiny canvas. I decided to submit that to the Art Show as well. Here is my piece titled Carousel Horses at Night.

carouselhorsesatnight-webversion

Carousel Horses at Night
Acrylic on canvas
3 inches x 3 inches
8 cm x 8 cm

You can read more about how I made this tiny painting in a blog post that I wrote last year.

In addition I created two new pieces. So far I’ve uploaded pictures of them on my various social media accounts. Here are a couple of Twitter tweets I made very shortly before the final submission deadline yesterday.

I really didn’t have much time to write anything in detail about these pieces. I’ll write more about these two pieces in a proper blog post at a later date.

In addition to the Art Show, I also intend to submit a couple of items I knitted to the Retro Town Fair, which will only be opened to the general public tomorrow from 2-4 p.m. Both are doll outfits that I managed to finish knitting last year and I made an unsuccessful attempt to sell them on eBay during the winter holiday season. The first one is a fur coat that I knitted using funky novelty yarn. This one is supposed to fit Barbie and other 1/6 scale dolls. This coat can also fit 1/6 scale dolls with large heads, such as this Blythe doll who’s modeling this coat in the photo below.

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You can read more about how I made this coat while viewing photos of other dolls wearing it in a blog post I wrote last December.

Last, but not least, is this outfit I knitted for 18-inch dolls (such as American Girl). Here’s a photo of Addy Walker modeling this outfit.

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You can read more about how I made this outfit while viewing photos of other dolls wearing it in a blog post I also wrote last December.

For information and directions to the festival, visit the festival’s official site.

It’s that time of the year where people are crowding the shopping malls in an effort to buy gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Instead of fighting surly drivers for a parking space, how about staying home and buying some unique things from me? Here is what I’m highlighting for sale this holiday season.

Do you like adult coloring books? Looking for something different from the usual ones that are currently on the market? For some NSFW fun, try my adult coloring book, Burlesque Beauties, which definitely puts the “adult” in adult coloring book.

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Purchase Burlesque Beauties right here.

When I originally created my first (and, so far, only) item for my new RedBubble shop, President Trump, I honestly thought that it would be something that was going to be hot for a limited time until Election Day then it would be obsolete. Thanks to the outcome of those elections, it looks like my President Trump line will be hip and relevant for at least the next four years (unless he somehow gets impeached or killed).

PresidentTrump-webfriendlyversion

You can buy this design on a variety of products ranging from leggings to bedcovers to cases and skins for your favorite electronic device. Check it all out right here.

I also currently have the following items available for auction on eBay through December 29 or until someone makes the highest bid (whichever comes first). There are no hidden reserve prices or anything like that and I have set relatively low minimum bids on these products.

Doll Couch Made From Recycled Dance Dance Revolution Pad

DC Mini Maker Faire, June 8, 2014

This is the same couch that I displayed at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and the 2014 DC Mini-Maker Faire. While this couch came from a pattern that was made for American Girl dolls, I found that it can also fit Mini Super Dollies and Ellowyne Wilde dolls as well. Bid on this couch right here.

Barbie Doll Customized as an Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Action Figure

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I recently made a series of DIY videos on how to customize a Barbie doll (especially the Made to Move Barbie) into Marvel Comics’ off-beat superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I decided to sell the doll that was featured in that video series. I figured that anyone who is looking for a Squirrel Girl doll/action figure to give to someone else (especially a child) but doesn’t have the time to customize a doll would want to buy her. I’m basically taking advantage of the fact that, as of this writing, there are no officially licensed dolls or action figures based on this character by making my own customized version available for sale. You can bid on my customized creation right here.

Knitted Fur Coat Made Especially For Barbie, Blythe, Pullip, and Other 1/6 Scale Dolls

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I wrote about the making of this one a few days ago. I decided to put it up for sale. Keep in mind that this piece is hand-knitted (by me) using fur yarn so it’s definitely not some cheaply made Third World sweatshop crap. I sewed hooks in the front so you can close it and keep it closed. It’s perfect for people who are itching to dress their doll in something appropriate for this time of the year. Bid on this doll coat right here.

Knitted Outfit for American Girl Dolls and Other 18-Inch Dolls

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Like the smaller knitted coat, I also wrote about this outfit in this blog recently. I decided to sell this one as well. This is a one of a kind outfit that was hand-knitted by me. I sewed snaps in the back instead of using velcro, which is convenient because you won’t have to deal with the hassle of getting your doll’s hair stuck every time you change into this outfit. (Even though most of the official American Girl outfits cost around $30, they still use velcro just like the manufacturers of cheaper doll outfits. If I was going to spend that much for doll clothes, I would expect something nicer than velcro.) Bid on this outfit right here.

In addition to my handcrafted stuff, I will also have a couple of other items available on eBay. I didn’t make either one but I decided to list them here along with everything else.

Talking Donald Trump Action Figure

talkingdonaldtrumpphotoforweb

This is the same action figure which I gave as a gag gift for my then-husband sometime during the first or second season of The Apprentice, long before Donald Trump’s foray into politics. I used this one in the video for my “Trump” poem back in 2011. Now that he’s the president-elect, I’m going to see how much of a collector’s item this doll really is. (If some hardcore Donald Trump fan wants to offer me a huge amount of money for it, I’m willing to accept the offer.) So if you’re shopping for gift to give to someone who voted for Trump and is a true believer, here’s your chance to surprise that person with an action figure that not only has realistic articulated joints but can also say phrases using The Donald’s own voice. I made a video demonstrating the action figure’s talking and posing capabilities.

Bid on the Talking Donald Trump Action Figure right here.

Card Set Featuring Reproductions of Vintage Betty Page Pinup Photos

The cards in this set are about the size of baseball trading cards. They all feature vintage photographs of 1950’s pinup model Betty Page, who inexplicably underwent a popular revival in the 1980’s (while many of her other 1950’s female pinup contemporaries still remain in obscurity to this day) and she still remains a cult figure today with plenty of male admirers. I purchased this card set from a catalogue as a Christmas gift for my then-husband because I figured he would like it since he used to purchase the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue each year. It turned out that I was wrong. He told me that Betty Page didn’t really excite him all that much compared to Cindy Crawford or Paulina Porizkova. I think he only went through that card pack once or twice then left it alone. Of course he left it behind when he walked out on me five years ago this month. I tried donating it to the yard sale that was run by my support group for people who are separated or divorced by the organizers told me that I would be better off selling it on eBay because it might be a collector’s item. So I’m selling it for very low minimum bid mainly because I just want to get rid of it. You can view a few sample pictures from this set and make your bids right here.

That’s it for the auctions. I’ve set each one up so it’ll be relisted two more times if I don’t get any bids the first week. But the entire auction will end on December 29 regardless of whether I sell anything or not so don’t delay and bid today!

In 2008 I underwent a hip replacement. Shortly before surgery I ordered a book from Amazon.com that was written by Nicky Epstein called Knits for Barbie Doll. When the book arrived I saw this pattern for a Funky “Fur” Coat that required using novelty fur yarn. I was especially intrigued by the photograph.

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I went to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts where I purchased some blue fur yarn. Then I underwent the surgery. During the long months of recovery I spent a lot of time knitting that coat since it was the one thing that didn’t require standing up or walking or any other kind of leg movement. I finished knitting the coat then I put it aside for a few years while I moved on to other things.

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I would come across it every now and then. The coat was mostly done. All I needed to do was to sew on some hooks so the coat would close but I didn’t get around to buying the hooks. Finally this past week I decided that, once and for all, I would finish that coat. I purchased the hooks and sewed them on the coat.

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I took a few dolls outside to shoot pictures while each doll took a turn modeling this coat, starting with Barbie (which is fitting since the pattern was made with her in mind).

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Here’s my 1/6 scale Asian ball-jointed doll, a Soom Mini-Gem Uyoo, wearing the same coat.

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The original coat pattern also had a separate pattern to knit a matching hat. I didn’t make a hat because I wanted this coat to be worn by as many different kinds of dolls as possible and many of them have different sized heads. One such case is this Pullip doll, whose oversized hear could never have worn a Barbie-sized hat even though her body can fit into some Barbie outfits.

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Last, but not least, here’s my Blythe doll modeling the same coat.

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I’m so glad that I finally finished that coat eight years after I started working on it. I even made a short promo video about it.

A few months ago I walked around the campus of my alma mater, University of Maryland at College Park, while snapping pictures. I didn’t bother with going inside of the undergraduate library, Hornbake Library. Had I done so, I would’ve been greeted with an extra surprise.  I learned about this in this post on the Living a Doll’s Life blog of all places. Basically the Hornbake Library has been having a special exhibition in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice in Wonderland. The exhibition started last October and it’s going to close at the end of this month.

I became very interested in a special exhibition devoted to Alice in Wonderland since it’s being held at my alma mater and I live close to the campus. I thought it would be a shame not to see it at least once before it closes. The big snag is that the exhibition is in a special room at Hornbake Library and that room is currently on a limited summer schedule where it’s only opened Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. I had some free time on the Tuesday before the Fourth of July holiday weekend so I decided to go to the campus.

Since I discovered that exhibit in a doll blog, I thought it would be cool to bring some small dolls with me that would also be appropriate for the occasion. The white rabbit is a Goodreau Dolls Scrappy the Rabbit while the girl is a Little Pullip Alice Fantastic. I took this next photo while I was eating lunch in the Food Court located in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union.

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When I was at campus in February, I saw that the University Book Center from my own student days had increased its space but I couldn’t investigate because it was closed that day. (I was there on a late Saturday afternoon.) This time I was able to go inside the store since I came on a weekday afternoon.

In my student days the University Book Center occupied the basement level. Since that time the same store had expanded by one floor. The upper floor sells mainly University of Maryland Terrapin clothes (including t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and even shoes).

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The lower level is still the way I remembered it, down to the exposed pipes on the ceiling.

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After I ate lunch at the Stamp Student Union I made the short walk to Hornbake Library where I saw the new statue dedicated to Frederick Douglass along with three huge banners hanging at the front, including one banner dedicated to Alice in Wonderland.

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The exhibit was held in the Maryland Room that’s located on the first floor. I knew I came to the right place when I saw a statue of Testudo the Terrapin wearing a Mad Hatter hat.

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Here are a few signs about the exhibition.

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Basically the exhibit consisted mostly of books from the collection of Clare and August Imholtz, who had spent three decades collecting anything to do with either Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, or both. They had acquired various editions of Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, in many different languages. The next photo shows the smallest editions that the couple currently have in their collection.

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This next photo shows a copy of Alice in Wonderland that was signed by Alice Hargreaves (née Alice Liddell), who was Lewis Carroll’s original inspiration for the Alice books.

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The two Alice books were originally published with illustrations by John Tenniel. The Tenniel-illustrated editions still remain in print but there have been a variety of editions where Tenniel’s illustrations were replaced by illustrations done by others. The vast majority of the collection on display showed these other illustrations, many of which are quite fanciful and colorful.

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There were a few Alice-related ephemera on display as well, such as these two ads that used the Alice characters.

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There were also a few magazines on display that also included Alice-inspired illustrations.

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There were a few miscellaneous items as well, such as paper dolls and crossword puzzles based on the Alice books.

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There was a table with a few copies of both Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass where people can sit down and read the books.

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Outside the Maryland Room there was a nearby hallway that had wall displays devoted to the various characters in the two Alice books.

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It was a relatively small exhibit that I was able to go through in about an hour. The next photo shows a view from the front doors of the Hornbake Library.

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Like I wrote at the beginning of the post I decided to bring a couple of appropriate small dolls. I never had the chance to use them because of the nature of the exhibit. (It was all books and other published items that were displayed behind glass cases.) I picked up a couple of free items at the exhibit which I displayed with the dolls after I returned home.

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Here’s a bookmark that has a riddle that was actually printed in Alice in Wonderland.

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There was a free Word Puzzle sheet that was similar to the kind of word puzzles that Lewis Carroll used to create. I tried the puzzle but I bombed out because it was a pretty difficult one. (And I’m a person who has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.)

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The last two photos show the two sides of this free postcard I picked up at the exhibit.

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Basically this exhibition will be up until the end of this month. The Maryland Room in the Hornbake Library is on a summer schedule where it’s only open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For the latest up-to-the-minute news on this exhibition, I suggest looking at the official blog. While I personally found the exhibition very interesting, keep in mind that there are no hands-on multimedia exhibits and the displays are totally static (which is something you’ll need to consider if you are thinking about taking young children to this exhibit).

UPDATE (July 31, 2016): The exhibit at the University of Maryland is now closed but the online version of this exhibit will remain indefinitely.

A few weeks ago I was going through my Flickr account when I found this album I created back in 2009 that has brought back memories for me. Here’s some background.

In late 2008 I underwent a hip replacement followed by several months of physical therapy. By early September I was starting to feel like my old self again. One day I was browsing through both the This is Blythe website and forum (both of which sadly no longer exist). I saw a notice in the Meetups section of the forum announcing a meetup of Blythe doll owners at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show that was held at a school in Waldorf. I was intrigued by the announcement so I went. I took my camera with me (this was long before I had received my first smartphone) and I also brought this doll, who was the model in this photograph that I actually exhibited in a few local art shows.

Blythe Doll in Cherry Blossom Tree

This particular Blythe is an Ashton-Drake Galleries reproduction of an early 1970’s Blythe doll that was manufactured by the now-defunct Kenner Toy Company. If she had been an actual Kenner Blythe, she would be sold on eBay for at least $900. But since that doll is a reproduction, I bought her off eBay for around $60.

The notice on the original forum didn’t specify what time everyone was going to meet nor did anyone respond with saying that they were going to be there. I decided to pack the doll while thinking that if no one showed up for the meetup, I could still peruse the doll show itself so it wouldn’t be a total loss.

Basically I met other people (I remember that it was all women there) with their Blythes so I took out my doll and introduced myself. We all took photos of each other’s dolls and someone urged us photographers to post our pictures on Flickr then post the link to our albums on the forum. I did that.

In addition I also wrote some notes about the event shortly after the doll show, which I found on my hard drive. I think I took those notes around the time when I was considering starting a new blog so it would’ve made sense for me to take notes so I would have some content for this new blog. I think I may have even considered it starting it in the fall of 2009 but I ended up not doing it. I think it was probably because I still didn’t feel ready yet and I was still getting over the last vestiges of that hip surgery. In any case I didn’t take the plunge and start this blog until January 6, 2010—four months after the Blythe meetup took place.

Thanks to the current trend of having Throwback Thursdays on the web, I can now revisit that event using the notes that I took back in 2009. Basically I went to the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show exactly 10 months after my hip replacement surgery. I carried my Blythe doll in a bag because I wasn’t sure if the meetup was really going to take place or not since no time was specified. (My notes said that the doll show itself took place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on September 12, 2009.)

I arrived at the doll show where I paid my admission fee and I was encouraged to fill out this ticket for door prizes that were being given away. A new name would be drawn every hour until all of the prizes were given away. I began to peruse the various vendor tables filled with all kinds of dolls when I saw three women who were openly toting their Blythe dolls. So I pulled out my Blythe doll and introduced myself. The other women were very nice and friendly and their Blythes were all very lovely.

I remember we all started to peruse the vendor tables together when one of the women who was working the doll show was walking around calling my name. I caught up with that woman and she said that the other women had just had the hourly raffle prize drawing and  they pulled my ticket. So I walked over to the table that was near the entrance to the doll show and I had my choice of prizes. I remember that the prizes weren’t much and that was my only memory. I ended up picking this Asian doll that was encased in a plastic box.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

I attempted to remove her from her box but her feet just wouldn’t budge so I figured that she was meant to stay in her box forever. There was some Asian writing on the bottom of the box but I didn’t know what it said since it was in a language that I was not familiar with.

After I picked up my new doll, I caught up with the others from the Blythe meetup. (I remember that it wasn’t a very big doll show so I had no problem with finding them.) At one point we decided to temporarily leave the doll show and eat lunch. We all carpooled over to a nearby Texas-themed BBQ restaurant where we displayed our Blythe dolls (and my newly won Asian doll) at our table.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

We returned to the doll show after lunch where we shopped among the tables. A lot of vendors asked us questions about our dolls and seemed genuinely interested in Blythe. One of the vendors was kind enough to let us put our Blythe dolls among her merchandise and take pictures of them.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

I also took a lot of photos of dolls other than Blythe. The show itself was held in a high school and the vendors were all set up in the cafeteria. The school cafeterias I used to eat in during my public school student days generally had no windows. This high school cafeteria was different in that one wall had a series of long windows that overlooked the hallway next to that room. The show organizers used the long windows to put up this display of dolls and stuffed animals. The toys displayed in the windows were not for sale at the show and the displays were pretty imaginative. Each window had a different theme ranging from Harry Potter to Raggedy Ann to fairies to dolls from around the world to Gone With the Wind. The window displays were really lovely to behold.

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

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Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

I remember that I stayed at the show for most of the afternoon socializing with the other Blythe doll owners until it was close to the time when the show would close. Soon after that meetup I uploaded my photos on to Flickr and I provided a link to my album on the This is Blythe forum.

I haven’t been to another Blythe meetup since that time. I went to a few other doll meetups but they were all for Asian ball-jointed dolls and I only went to the ones that were connected with an anime convention (mainly Katsucon and Otakon). The last anime convention I went to was Otakon in 2013 and I had pretty much stopped going to anime conventions because they had become way too crowded for my taste. (It got to the point where if you wanted to go to a certain panel, you had to stand in line for at least a half an hour before it began. Even then you weren’t guaranteed entrance because there were times when a room would be full by the time I had reached the front door of a panel.)

I haven’t been to another doll meetup since Otakon 2013. Right now attending doll meetups are a very low priority in my life. If one happens to occur near when I live and I don’t have anything else that I needed to do, I might go to another one just to check it out. Doll meetups are fun in that you can see actual dolls in person without having to buy them yourself but, to date, I have never made an actual friendship or created any kind of meaningful relationships through a doll meetup. Those types of meetups are basically focused on what dolls your brought rather than who the doll owner is and what does he/she do other than collect dolls. These days I find it easier to just look at photos of dolls on the Internet than to get in my car or hop on a Metro, go to some place, and meet a whole bunch of strangers where the only thing you have in common with any of them are dolls and everyone present basically talk about nothing but dolls the whole time you’re there.

The Southern Maryland Doll Club Show continues to be an annual event (the last one was held on September 12, 2015) but I haven’t been back since. I should think about returning for the heck of it, even if there is no doll meetup of any kind.

As for that Asian doll that I won as a door prize, I displayed her on a bedroom shelf for a few years.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Even though I thought she was cute, she didn’t really do much for me. The fact that she was permanently stuck in that plastic box enclosure didn’t help. The weirdest part about that box enclosure is that she’s covered on all four sides and the bottom yet the top has no lid or any kind of covering. That made dusting the doll a major hassle since I couldn’t remove her from that box. I placed shrink wrap over the top in order to keep out the dust. About a year or two after my husband walked out on me in late 2011 I ended up donating her to the American Rescue Workers as part of a general decluttering of my home.

I enjoyed myself at that one Blythe meetup but my biggest regret that I didn’t take any pictures of the other women who were there that day (although I took plenty photos of their dolls). I don’t remember their names or what they looked like or anything about their personalities. (Our discussions basically centered around dolls in general and Blythe in particular.) In fact, I haven’t seen any of those women since that meetup. If my memory is correct, I think it’s because the other three women all live in Southern Maryland while I live closer to Washington, DC so there is that distance factor. I also didn’t hang around the doll forums very much after my hip surgery so it was by chance that I happened to see that notice about that meetup in the first place. It’s still too bad that This is Blythe is no longer online because it was kind of cool reading posts by other members and seeing lots of nice doll photos.

At least I still have this Flickr album to remember that Blythe meetup by.

American Flag

Previous in This Series

Part 1 (Artomatic 2007)
Part 2 (Artomatic 2008)

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-posting old blog posts that I originally made for my online Artomatic account. I would initially write a rough draft using a HTML editor then do a quick copy and paste directly into that online blog. The only thing is that the people behind Artomatic tend to wipe the official site of old content whenever a new Artomatic event is announced. Since Artomatic is going on this year, I’d thought it would be cool to re-post some of those old blog posts that exist on my hard drive.

This entry focuses on the posts I wrote when I took part in the 2009 Artomatic event. Things were pretty good for me. I was in the process of recovering from my hip replacement surgery that I underwent in late 2008  but I had felt so much better compared to the year before. I took part in Artomatic that previous year even though I hobbled around on a cane. The organizers would put me in desk jobs for my volunteer shift whenever they saw me with my cane so I was still able to do the required three volunteer shifts.

Here are some of the posts I wrote that year.

Tired, May 21, 2009

I’m participating in Artomatic this year but I’ve been a bit on the disorganized side. After spending the past year dealing with a bad left hip, I’m now getting used to being in good health once again. Six months ago I had hip replacement surgery and it was a very slow healing process. This past Monday was my six-month anniversary of the surgery. The good news is that because I’ve made great strides, my doctor told me that I can now discontinue the physical therapy that I’ve been on since the day after the surgery. (Yes, it started while I was still in the hospital.) It was only last week when I felt confident enough to stop using my cane.

Well, in any case, I’m now able to do more than I did last year. My left hip was so bad that I signed up all of my required three volunteer shifts in the Events category because I was so unsure about being able to do either Installation or Deinstallation.

This year I signed up for one shift in each of the categories. My first shift was last night, which is still in the Installation phase. My main assignment was to patrol the 8th and 9th floors to make sure that people present were actually installing their spaces and to confront anyone who didn’t seem to be installing at all. Well, everyone who was there were doing some kind of installing so it was a pretty calm night.

At 9:30 p.m. I had to let people on both the 8th and 9th floors know that the building was going to close for the night in 30 minutes. Then I did the same thing at 9:45 p.m., except to tell them that everything was going to close in 15 minutes. After 10 p.m. I went to the 8th and 9th floors to make sure everyone was gone then I turned the lights off.

It wasn’t a hard job, although it required a lot of walking since I had to cover two floors. (There weren’t enough volunteers at my shift so a few of us had to do with two floors instead of the usual one floor per person.) I really did appreciate the surgery because there was no way I could’ve done this last year with my bad hip.

The only real snag came when I got off my shift because the Washington Nationals were playing at the stadium nearby and the baseball fans were crowding the Navy Yard Metro station. In any case, I’m pretty tired from last night plus I’m getting over this head cold that I caught last week–which is why I’ve been very slow about installing my own work.

I should sign off now and get some sleep.

Finally Finished With Installing, May 27, 2009

I spent most of Memorial Day weekend on finishing with the installation of my artwork. I finally finished on Monday, Memorial Day, itself. I was totally exhausted but at least I’m done.

I’ll update my catalogue soon.

What I’ll Be Exhibiting at Artomatic This Year, May 27, 2009

This year’s show will be a mix of new work that I’ve done while I was recuperating from undergoing hip replacement surgery last November and older work that I showed last year and will be making a return visit.

First will be the images of artwork that I haven’t actually showed at Artomatic before but I uploaded them online earlier this year because Artomatic was sponsoring a special Valentine Day’s show at a few buildings in the same neighborhood where this year’s Artomatic was being held and the entires were selected from those who had updated their Artomatic catalogues. I created and uploaded two small paintings plus one photograph just in time for the deadline but none of them were selected for the show. The two paintings will be included in my exhibit. (I left the photograph of the two dolls out of this year’s show due to space issues on my wall.) Neither one have been exhibited anywhere else prior to Artomatic. Here are the paintings:

Barack Obama

Psyche and Cupid

Now for the artwork that is making a return to Artomatic this year. All of them are photographs and all of them were exhibited in last year’s show.

Where is the Alligator? Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina 2008

Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina, 2008

Volks Dollfie Dream Doll Peeking From Cherry Blossom Tree

Blythe Doll in Cherry Blossom Tree

Ellowyne Wilde Doll in Front of U.S. Capitol

Ninth Life Store Sign

Here are some additional artwork that will be making its debut at Artomatic for the first time.

Desire

barbiefairiesinpictureframe

Free Beer Tomorrow

Panda Wall Hanging

Peeps Acrylic Painting

realitytelevision

The Scream of Nadya Suleman

theelfandthedragon001

Here is a promo video I made for YouTube.

 

Dance Performances at Artomatic, June 13, 2009

Here’s a video I shot of two women who performed this dance routine under the name Hairloom.

I also shot this belly dancing performance by the group Sahara Dance.

 

Meet the Artists Night, June 13, 2009

I shot two videos of that night. Here is my exhibition space as it was set up on that night.

Most of the action took place on the 7th floor, where PostSecret author Frank Warren was having a book signing event. That floor turned into one large party complete with music and flashing lights. Here is what I shot on that floor.

 

The Sarah Palin Tribute Band at Artomatic, June 17, 2009

I shot two videos by this band called The Sarah Palin Tribute Band who, as far as I can tell, had made their performing debut at Artomatic but haven’t performed in public anywhere else since then. Here is the group doing the song “This Land is Your Land.”

And here is the group performing “This Little Light of Mine.”

 

Artomatic Musings, June 25, 2009

A few days ago I finally finished visiting all the floors and viewed all the artwork. How I did it was that I would devote a few hours a week to seeing art and I did only two floors at a time. I started with the 9th floor and worked my way down. Here are a few videos of what I saw, starting with the display of the winners of this year’s Peeps diorama contest that was sponsored by The Washington Post.

Here are the interactive displays I saw on the first, second, and third floors.

Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fourth floor.

Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fifth floor.

Here are the ones on the sixth and seventh floors.

And, finally, here are the ones on the eighth floor.

I saw incredible amounts of artwork. I saw lots of art that I liked but there was so much of it that I can’t remember which ones I liked. I did pick up a bunch of business cards and flyers and many of these artists have websites so I will be spending the next few months with gradually visiting all their sites at my own leisure.

A week ago I spent the second of my three required volunteer shifts watching the loading dock. I was glad that I brought my iPod Touch and my puzzle magazine along because it was a bit on the dull side. The highlight came when I helped another volunteer with washing out the recycling bins using a hose then spraying them with Lysol. All I can say is that stale beer is an absolutely disgusting scent.

But I still can’t complain about having to do it because last year my left hip stopped working and I had to hobble around on a cane. My hip got so bad that I had to undergo a hip replacement then go through a few months of physical therapy. Compared to the hell that I went through for the past year, washing out recycling bins is no big deal.

I checked out the first ever Zombie Prom and it was a riot!!! I wore this evening gown that I had originally purchased for my brother-in-law’s wedding a few years ago and I even had my face made up into a zombie. It was pretty fun. Here’s a video I shot at that event.

There are times when I wished Artomatic had been held in the spring like the last few years. That’s because this year both the Artomatic 500 Cardboard Car Race and the Peeps Diorama Reception are being held this Saturday and I’ll be out of town. My family had booked a week in Ocean City months before Artomatic announced its show and it was too late to re-schedule. I will be back next Friday, although I’m not sure what time I’ll arrive. If I arrive relatively early in the day and if I still have energy, I’ll check out the Art in Fashion show later that evening. But everything is really iffy. [NOTE: I ended up not attending the Art in Fashion show because we arrived late from the trip and I was pretty tired by then.]

The Last Entry for 2009, July 26, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I managed to retrieve my artwork from Artomatic. This past Friday I served the last of my three required volunteer shifts. I basically helped with taking down the partitions in the middle of the floors. The shift I was on managed to finish with the few that were left on the 9th floor before taking down all the ones on the 8th floor. By the time we started on the 7th floor, our shift was over. When I left there was still a lot of work that needed to be done but I’m sure everything will be eventually cleared out.

On that note, I’m going to stop updating this blog for the rest of the year. While I enjoyed myself at this year’s Artomatic, the big disappointment is that I didn’t sell a single thing. I don’t know if it’s due to the poor economy or the fact that Artomatic was moved to the summertime or the fact that it was located near the Nationals ballpark or a combination of all three. But right now I’m up in the air as to whether I will participate next year. It really depends on what the organizers do and where the event will be located and my own schedule.

But I’m really disappointed that all my efforts have amounted to naught when it came to my own sales and even lucking out on meeting influential curators or other movers and shakers in the art world who could help me make it to the next level. I’m at the point where I’m questioning whether it was worth it at all.

I’m not going to make any decisions about my participation in future Artomatics until next year. In the meantime I’m just going to pursue other opportunities and hope they pan out.

Next in This Series

Part 4 (Artomatic 2012)

Previous in This Series

Part 1 (Artomatic 2007)

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been going through some old files on my computer hard drive and I found the original rough drafts of my old Artomatic blog posts from previous years. (There was a time when Artomatic gave everyone who participated their own blogging account. For Artomatic this year, I had to step up and volunteer to be a blogger before I received my own blogging account.) It’s pretty appropriate to share some of these posts here since Artomatic is going on until next month.

While I visited a few previous Artomatics, the first time I actually participated was in 2007. I enjoyed that experience so much that when Artomatic was announced again in 2008, I jumped at the chance to participate in it again.

2008 was a momentous year for me for reasons other than Artomatic. I was born with a dislocated left hip and, as some old baby photos have documented, I was placed in a body cast for several months. My left hip joints snapped into place, the cast was removed, and I learned how to walk like an average child soon afterwards. I sprained the same left hip in a roller skating accident when I was 12 but I managed to recuperate and I walked like a regular person again. All that changed by late 2007 when I began to walk with a limp. As time went on, I had a harder time walking and by the time of Artomatic 2008, I had to use a cane to get around.

Despite my hip problems, I wanted to participate in Artomatic and I did so. That year I decided to focus mostly on photography, with the exception of this Peep Floyd diorama that I originally did for The Washington Post‘s annual Peeps diorama contest but it failed to make even Honorable Mention. Here is the original online catalogue that I put up to promote my exhibition space.

Peep Floyd

Unicorn

Little Chapel in Day

Little Chapel at Night

Guitar Heroes

Honda Asimo Robot

Toyota Partner Robot

Tai-Shan

Pink Flamingoes

Naked Mole Rats

$900 Pez Dispensers

American Girl Dolls

White Bridge at Cypress Gardens

Find the Swimming Alligator

R2-D2 Mailbox

Shalom Y'all

Unicyclist

Ninth Life Store Sign

Ellowyne Wilde Doll in Front of U.S. Capitol

Legal Cubans

Sunset Over Assawoman Bay

Blythe Doll in Cherry Blossom Tree

Cosplay Contest, 2008 Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, DC

Volks Dollfie Dream and Testudo

Volks Dollfie Dream Doll in Cherry Blossom Tree

Volks Dollfie Dream Doll Peeking From Cherry Blossom Tree

Tiny Dolls in Forsythia Bushes

Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina, 2008

Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina, 2008

Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina, 2008

Where is the Alligator? Cypress Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina 2008

Soom Mini-Gem Uyoo in Cherry Blossom Tree

Worshipping the Goddess

Here are just a few selected posts I made in my Artomatic account’s blog that year as archived on my hard drive. (That blog has long since been deleted since Artomatic tends to totally revamp its website whenever a new Artomatic event is announced.)

I’m Participating in Artomatic 2008, March 27, 2008

I’ve finally finished with registration. This year I’m going to emphasize my photography more mainly because I’ve been more successful at that than doing strictly drawing and painting.

Now my next task is to sift through my vast trove of digital photos to pick out the right ones to display. I am quite a shutterbug. I’m glad for the invention of digital cameras because I still remember the pain of running out of film and I had to choose between shelling out more money for film (then have to shell out more money to get them processed) or quit my picture taking for the day. I have a monumental task ahead of me so I’m going to sign off now.

Latest Stuff About Me, April 18, 2008

Last Saturday I went to the Artomatic orientation where I picked out my site. I’ll be located on the 7th floor, NE Quadrant, Area C4. I know it sounds like gobbledygook now but I’m sure it’ll become more apparent once the show opens and the maps/brochures are printed. For the time being, I’ll just say that my wall space is located right next to the men’s restroom on the 7th floor.

My Exhibit for This Year, May 8, 2008

I know that some of you who are familiar with my exhibit at last year’s Artomatic will be wondering if I’m doing anything different. Well, the answer is yes. I’m going to describe the difference between this year’s exhibit and last year’s.

Last year I had a variety of different media ranging from digital photographs to drawings to paintings. I even had a couple of dolls I customized myself that were on display in small glass cases that were mounted on the wall.

This year I’m focusing exclusively on digital photographs. That’s mainly because I wanted artwork that was more transportable than my larger art pieces. All of my photographs are either 8″ x 10″ or 5″ x 7″. Keeping the photos at those two sizes made frame shopping really easy for me since those two are standard sizes. On top of that, I’ve had people tell me that my biggest strength is in photography so I decided to highlight that some more.

The biggest challenge I had was whittling down the hundreds of digital photographs that I have on my hard disk to just 32 photos. (Sixteen of them are 8″ x 10″ while the rest are 5″ x 7″.) Then I had the additional challenge of printing since, as experienced digital photographers and computer graphics artists know, what is seen on the computer screen doesn’t mean that the print version will turn out the same. But I managed to get everything done in time for the opening tomorrow night.

I’m also pricing my photos at $10 for the 8″ x 10″ and $6 for the 5″ x 7″. I know my pricing methods may become controversial but there’s a method to my madness. If you’ve been reading a newspaper or watching any of the cable news channel, you’ll know that this country is in an economic crisis due to rising gas costs, higher food prices, and the subprime mortgage crisis. I really don’t think that people are in the mood to shell out $100 or higher for a piece of art no matter how much they love it because of the economy.

I also had an epiphany around the end of last year’s Artomatic. I got someone who wanted to buy one of my drawings but she wanted to know how much it would cost if I would remove it from the frame. Since I didn’t have any other serious buyers of my artwork last year, I told her that I would take $25 off my drawing. So I sold it to her and took home an empty frame.

This year I scoured the local big box retailers looking for the lowest frame prices. A.C. Moore had the best prices with many frames being sold for $3 and $4 and with some going for as low as $2. What’s more, the frames still looked pretty decent despite the low prices. Then I went to Staples where I bought a pack of satin-finish photographic paper for $35. I calculated each sheet as costing around sixty cents per sheet, which isn’t bad.

I even have a catchy ad phrase that I put on a sign in my area: “Affordable Artwork for Uncertain Economic Times”.

What’s more, since I have my photos on a hard drive, I can easily print multiple copies so if one person buys one of my photos and someone else wants that same photo, I can print and frame another copy and sell it to that other person.

I will have a small table next to my photos where I will have a guestbook for you to sign and a digital frame that will rotate digital photos of some of my other works of art like my drawings, paintings, sculptures, and crafts. I purchased this digital frame at Target and I love it because I can display more of my art than the space that’s alloted to me.

I will also have a diorama displayed on that table called Peep Floyd. I originally created this diorama for The Washington Post’s second annual Peeps contest but it didn’t make the final cut among the judges. I was disappointed but my husband was even more heartbroken than I was. (He felt that I was robbed.) So I decided to give my little diorama a second chance by displaying it with my artwork. I’m even putting it up for sale for only $5 (which is about how much money I spent making it in the first place). What’s even amusing is that there will be a display of the winning Peeps dioramas on the 10th floor while my display will be on the 7th floor. So if people decided to start on the first floor and work their way up, chances are that they will see my own diorama first before they see the winners on the 10th floor. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Last year I printed three photo zines that I sold on the honor system where people can put money in a box if they wanted one or more of my zines. I did it mainly as a promotional item, even if it was a pain to print multiple copies for the duration of Artomatic. (The fact that I was using a 10-year-old Epson color printer didn’t help matters much.) I thought that I would get some sort of opportunities from the zines after Artomatic in the long run so I toughed out the time spent printing, collating, and stapling the zines. I also gritted my teeth as I spent lots of money on printer ink since those zines did use up tons of ink. Even though the zines sold pretty well (some people did leave money in the box), nothing ever came of those zines after Artomatic ended. No one contacted me saying, “Hey I liked your zines and photos and I want to do some work with you.”

Basically it really wasn’t worth the time or money spent making and distributing the zines so I’m not going to do any more this year. I know that some of you will be disappointed but that’s the way things go.

The biggest change from last year to this year is myself. Yes, I am a year older but my health has gone down a bit. I have an old injury in my left hip that was repaired a long time ago but I’ve now developed osteoarthritis in it. Last year I was able to walk normally most of the time (although I did limp if I overextended myself by doing too much walking or other physical work). This year I’m walking with a limp and I use a walking stick whenever I have to walk around outside for any great distances. I’ve consulted an orthopedic specialist and he’s recommending that I undergo a hip replacement, especially since my left leg is now a little bit shorter than my right leg, thanks to the osteoarthritis.

But, before I undergo the surgery, I have to lose weight and do exercises to strengthen my hip. As a result, I’m still able to participate in Artomatic since I won’t be able to undergo the surgery until July at the earliest.

Having osteoarthritis is a bit of a bummer. I get more physically tired than before, partially because of having to take prescription version of ibuprofen (which has drowsiness as a side effect) and partially because it’s just more physically taxing to limp around. My current condition was a major factor in my decision to focus on smaller photographs than my larger canvases since the photos are easier to cart around than a big canvas. Since I decided to eliminate the zines, I will find Artomatic less taxing than last year.

I will be at the opening tomorrow night with my husband. This weekend I will be working as a vendor at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. I will have a packed schedule.

I’m Doing Pretty Well at Artomatic This Year, May 26, 2008

So far I had someone who wanted six copies of my “Shalom Y’all” photo because she wanted to give them away to her Jewish friends. I also have one other person who may be potentially interested in purchasing something from me but I haven’t heard back from him.

So far I took part in a drawing workshop on Opening Night and I’ve also worked one shift so far. (It happened to be on the same night as the “Meet the Artists Night” so I couldn’t be at my area, with the exception of a brief break that I took around 8 p.m.) Right now I’m typing this entry from a hotel room in Charleston, South Carolina but I intend to participate in more Artomatic events once I return.

I happened to be in Charleston at the same time as their annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival—an art-filled festival that includes special exhibitions at area art galleries, special theatre shows, special musical concerts, and a crafts fair. I intend to check out the crafts fair at least. I also intend to visit the City Market, which is filled with stalls of people hawking food items and various types of crafts. It’s also where a local African-American group of people known as the Gullahs sell their speciality craft–making baskets, vases, flowers, and other items out of sweetgrass.

Well, anyway, see ya later!

My Artomatic Videos, June 2, 2008

This year I’ve been doing more at Artomatic than just showing my artwork and attending a few events. I’ve also been taking photographs and shooting video. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the photos yet but I’ve already edited and uploaded three short video clips on my YouTube account.

All three videos are of the firedancing troupe known as Flights of Fire. I shot this during the second hour of their show on May 16. (I missed the first hour because I was finishing up the last hour of my own volunteer shift during that time.) I was pretty exhausted after working my five-hour volunteer shift so I basically went outside, sat down, and unwind a bit by watching the group perform the rest of their show. I happened to have my videocamera with me so I filmed them as they did their various fire tricks to some lively dance music.

This first clip is a general highlights reel as I focused on the troupe’s most spectacular firedancing tricks:

The second clip is a very sexy and erotic routine that is performed in its entirety:

The third clip is the grand finale that is also performed in its entirety. Imagine a bunch of people dancing and swinging flaming torches at the same time and you’ll get something like this:

Two More Artomatic Videos For You to View, June 5, 2008

I shot two more videos at Artomatic that I’ve uploaded to my YouTube account. The first one is the Peeps artist reception that was held on May 31, 2008.

The second one is the first-ever Artomatic 500 cardboard car race, which is just as hilarious as it sounds.

Enjoy!

A Posting From Artomatic, June 13, 2008

I’ve just finished the third required volunteer shift over an hour ago and I’m waiting for this workshop on “Urban R & D: Developing a Community Research and Design Lab” to begin in a few minutes. Actually volunteering wasn’t too bad despite my totally arthritic hip (which has given me a bad limp in recent months and has definitely put a crimp on my mobility) because I was given desk jobs. (I worked the front desk on the first floor the first two times and I worked the fourth floor this final time today.)

Last night I attended the Artists’ Social. I met someone whom I had volunteered with on a previous shift and I also met up with other people whom I had met at other Artomatic events. What was cool was that I sold two of my photographs to someone who loved by two robot photos (one of the Toyota Partner Robot and the other of the Honda Asimo—both taken at a Japanese cultural festival at the Kennedy Center a few months ago).

I’m looking forward to attending Artomatic tomorrow night–they are having the first-ever Art in Fashion show, which is supposed to have fire as the theme. From the way this event is being hyped, it sounds like Project Runway on steroids.

Well, anyway, I gotta wrap this entry up and head off to tonight’s workshop.

More Artomatic Videos, June 21, 2008

I shot and posted a few more videos at Artomatic before it ended last Sunday but I’ve only gotten around to blogging about it now.

First is a video of my own exhibit, which was displayed on the 7th floor next to the men’s bathroom.

Next is a video of a couple of interactive exhibits that were done by other artists.

I previously videotaped the Peeps artist reception where I spoke with prolific Peeps diorama artist Carl Cordell. At the time he was working on a fourth diorama, “The Day The Earth Stood Peeped”, that wasn’t ready in time for the reception. I kept on going to the Peeps area for the next few weeks but the diorama didn’t make its appearance until last Saturday, the day before the last day of Artomatic. I made a short video highlighting that diorama.

I did a three-part video about the Art in Fashion show, which was the closing event of Artomatic. (It was held the night before Artomatic’s final day.) It highlighted fashions created by fashion designers in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. I had fun attending this because I’m such a fan of Project Runway and I had never seen a fashion show in person before.

After the fashion show ended, there was a big party that included all kinds of activities. I videotaped some of it but I was running out of battery power by that point so I didn’t film as much as I wanted to. But it should give you an idea of what it was like. (Some parts of this video are definitely NSFW because it includes scenes of body painting on partially or fully nude bodies.)

Well, anyway, that’s it for the Artomatic videos.

Visiting the Artomatic Site for the Last Time, June 21, 2008

I had successfully sold yet another photo to someone and he and I agreed to meet at the Artomatic site today. After the transaction was made and he took his newly-purchased photo with him, I took down my exhibit. I felt wistful as I did it but, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

Goodbye For Now, June 23, 2008

Now that Artomatic is over and I’ve picked up my artwork from the site, it’s time for me to say goodbye to this blog until the next time I decide to participate in an Artomatic.

Three months after I wrote that last farewell Artomatic post, I underwent a hip replacement followed by physical therapy that lasted until well into 2009. In early 2011 I suffered two falls within a week that knocked my hip replacement out of alignment so I had to undergo hip revision surgery followed by more physical therapy. Right now my hip is doing fine. <knock wood!>

Next in This Series

Part 3 (Artomatic 2009)
Part 4 (Artomatic 2012)

On August 7 and 8 I had two straight days of pure <squee!>. August 7 was BronyCon and some general walking in Baltimore, which I have already written about. The following day I went to another cute event that was located closer to my home. There was a Doll and Teddy Bear Show that was held at the historic Marietta House Museum in Glenn Dale, Maryland.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

I have lived in the area for many years and I have driven past the signs pointing the way to the Marietta House Museum numerous times and I have never visited the place until recently. The Marietta House Museum is the former residence of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Gabriel Duvall that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When I first arrived, I felt like I had stepped back in time.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show Seeing the grounds reminded me of my recent visit to Sotterley Plantation in Southern Maryland. The grounds of the Marietta House are smaller in acreage than Sotterley but the entire area still looked very impressive.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Gabriel Duvall not only lived there with his family but he also maintained his law practice in one of the smaller buildings on the property.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

The grounds themselves are full of wooded areas, nice landscaping, and smaller buildings that were probably used for things like storage.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

There is a family burial plot right on the property located in the backyard.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

The main house itself is quite grand.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

A glimpse of the window from outside only provides a subtle hint of what was going on indoors.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Inside the house it looks like there is an upper level and a basement. However, for the Doll and Teddy Bear Show, only the ground floor was opened to the public. In fact, these three dolls seemed to greet visitors while blocking all access to the upstairs level.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Admission was free and some of the items were available for sale. However, there were also other items on display that weren’t for sale. There was a mix of older dolls with modern dolls. I saw plenty of Barbies. I saw a few American Girl dolls (with handmade clothes for 18-inch dolls on sale). I saw plenty of porcelain dolls. I saw art dolls, ethnic dolls, small dolls, and large dolls. I also saw plenty of teddy bears as well. Some of the bears were vintage (such as Teddy Ruxpin) while others were perennial favorites (like Winnie the Pooh). All in all there were lots of things to see in such a lovely historical setting.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

The boy doll in the next photo reminded me of a childhood photo of my father-in-law that I used to see displayed in the condo that he shared with his second wife. (I last visited that place in 2011 just six months before my husband left me for another woman. I haven’t been back since.) I found the resemblance to my own memories of that photograph to be quite eery.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

There was a nice display of art dolls that were made by a group of tweens (between the ages of 9-11) who were taking a summer workshop in doll making. The woman who runs that workshop was selling some of those dolls for prices ranging from $130-150. I was talking for a bit with that woman and I mentioned that the nearby Makerspace 125 was running a series of monthly workshops in making art dolls and, so far, two of them were held—one in May and one in June. When I started to explain how we were making our dolls (as taught in the workshop), the woman immediately said “That’s crafting. What I’m selling is fine art dolls.” I felt put off because that woman had made a snap judgement. In addition, I had left the two art dolls I created in those workshops at home so I didn’t have anything to show. Plus she raised that whole ugly “Art vs. Craft” controversy that frequently permeates both the art world and craft world and I felt it was uncalled for.

All I know is that the next time I see the woman who runs the art doll workshops at Makerspace 125, I’ll tell her what happened at that show. It’ll be interesting to get her reaction to the judgement that her art dolls are really just “crafts.”

My encounter with that woman was the only sour part of the whole show. I quickly walked away from her after she made that comment. I have to admit that the art dolls that her tween students made in her workshop are quite nice looking.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show I viewed the rest of the show without incident. I just enjoyed all of the eye candy.

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

Doll and Teddy Bear Show

All in all I had a pretty good day viewing all kinds of cute dolls and teddy bears in such a lovely historic setting like the Marietta House Museum.

Previous Entries in This Series

Part 1
Part 2

I know this is the third day in a row that I’m writing about this little summer project that I’ve embarked on. It’s just that I’ve been working on it for a while and I haven’t gotten around to sharing it until now. I also didn’t know how I would’ve reacted to working on this project so I decided to hold off on blogging about it in case it turned out that I didn’t like working on it. It turned out that I’m basically enjoying myself as I’m working on it so I’m blogging about it now.

Last week I struggled a little bit because I had never used colored pencil on acrylic paint before but I eventually found a solution. This week it was much better because I learned from my past mistakes and this week the online class dealt with using water-resistant markers.

I still had to deal with the fact that I’m using a board book that has more pages than what the artist in the online videos used. So this week I decided to continue spreading the art over two pages and create a full two-page layout effect.

So here is the original tutorial, led by Ady Almanza.

Like I wrote earlier, I had a book that was several pages longer than what was used in the tutorial. I decided once again to do a two-page spread. For this project, I decided to switch from using my Volks Dollfie Dream as a model to using two Blythe dolls that I own. (In fact, they are the only Blythe dolls that I own.) Here is a photo of the two of them that I used as part of an earlier art project. (WARNING!: Link is NSFW.)

Dollhouse: Voyeur Eyes Only

I decided to draw the two Blythe dolls on opposite pages while giving each other the side-eye. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with these dolls, each Blythe has a string that you pull. Every time you pull the string, the doll’s eyes closes. When you let go of the string, they open again with the pupils in both a different color and a different position. You can see this in action in this vintage early 1970’s ad for the doll.)

So I made a pencil drawing over the gesso (which I covered the pages with before I began). Then I covered the lines with waterproof ink. After that I painted the background in one color with acrylic paint. Then I took white acrylic paint and I mixed it with matte medium in order to simulate the matte paint that the tutorial required and I have a hard time finding on the store shelves. I used that mixture in order to under-paint the areas where the faces would go in the scene. Then I sprayed workable fixative on top in order to give the surface enough “teeth” to hold the ink that I would draw on the top layer.

That did the trick because I used the ink with no problems. In real life my purple-haired Blythe doll is much paler in skin tone than the blonde doll (which you can see in the above photograph) so I decided to try using different colored inks to simulate flesh tones. I initially rendered the blonde Blythe’s skin in a darker skin tone by accident (I misjudged the shade of the ink and I didn’t even test it out on scratch paper before I used it). I overlaid some lighter colored markers on top and it made the doll on the left side look like she had gotten a major suntan by spending some time in one of those tanning booths. Even though the dolls don’t have any eyebrows in real life, I decided to add some in the drawing because I thought that people would find the lack of eyebrows off-putting (especially those who are unfamiliar with Blythe dolls).

I also inked over the clothes then I added a layer of glitter glue. By the time everything dried, the only area that needed filling in was the hair, which was still blank. Following the video instructions, I put a layer of tracing paper over the art and drew the outline of the hair. The original video called for using special thin fabric that’s apparently used in scrapbooking projects. I know that Ady Almanza is based in Germany so I guess it’s a German thing because I had never heard of such fabric here in the U.S. and I looked in the local big box retailers (Michaels, A.C. Moore’s, and Jo-Ann’s) only to turn up empty.

Instead I got out a few books that are filled with just 5″ x 7″ scrapbooking paper (that I purchased on sale at steep discount prices a few years ago) and cut out some hair using what I had traced on tracing paper as a template. Then, using Modge Podge, I glued the hair on the heads. I discovered that I made a mistake on one of the heads during the cutting process that would’ve exposed a white bald area close to the border of the face. I happened to find 5″ x 7″ paper with a daisy design on it so I cut out one of the daisies and stuck it over the white bald area so it looks like that female has a flower in her hair. Then, in the interests of symmetry, I decided to cut out a second daisy and glued that in the other female’s hair using Modge Podge as well. Then I decoupaged the whole thing by smearing a thin layer of Modge Podge over both pages.

Here is what the pages looked like before I worked on them.

pages3and4

And here is what they look like now.

3-pages3and4

That’s it for the backlog of doll pages. I’m going to look at the latest lesson video before I start my next page(s). I’ll keep you abreast at the progress I’m making in this book.

Subsequent Entries in This Series

Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

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