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Last fall I was doing some tidying up around the house when I found this fused glass pendant featuring a bunny rabbit that I made years ago when I took a workshop that was offered through Profusions of Glass. (I may have even still been married when I made this pendant. LOL!) Well, anyway, I found it back in November shortly before Thanksgiving and I now have it in the place where I keep all of my other jewelry. I waited to write about it until today because the pink color scheme along with the rabbit just seems more like it’s appropriate for Easter Sunday than last November.
Philadelphia museum showing glass bongs as high art. The museum’s directors say that this exhibit is less about potheads and more about allowing an underground community of artists to showcase their work without fear of being stigmatized or prosecuted.
This latest installment in my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series focuses on other tree ornaments that I haven’t featured in this series so far.
The ornament in the next photo was one that was released in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1992. That commemoration was controversial mainly because Christopher Columbus’ role in history has become extremely controversial in recent years. I remember when replicas of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which drew some protests. I saw those ships myself and I was disappointed to learn that only the top deck was opened to the general public while the rest of the decks were roped off. I purchased the ornament because I thought it was very cute, which was the same reason why it survived my purge of excessive ornaments.
This next photo shows a very stylized reindeer that I purchased from the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms years before I started this blog. I’ve always loved the design of this reindeer, which was why that one also survived my ornaments purge.
Here’s a cute Hallmark ornament in the form of a bull-shaped piñata that has “Feliz Navidad” written on the sides.
Here’s a glittery gold snowflake ornament that was given to me by one of my relatives years ago. I especially love the way it reflects when the lights are on.
Here’s a gold heart that I purchased years ago because my then-husband said that he loves hearts. I kept it after he left and I made my ornaments purge because it looks lovely in the Christmas tree, especially when viewed from afar.
The two ornaments in the next photo feature a gold leaf and a dolphin. I know the gold leaf was given to me and my then-husband by a family member but I don’t remember if it came from my parents, my mother-in-law, or my sister-in-law. The dolphin ornament was a Hallmark ornament that I purchased for my then-husband not long after we were married because my husband really loved dolphins. Naturally he left that one behind when he left me but I kept it because the dolphin looks really cute in the tree, especially with it looking like it’s in the middle of a mid-air jump through a Christmas wreath.
This stylized wood star came from a relative from my then-husband’s side of the family but I don’t remember if his mother, sister, or his late Aunt Sue gave it to us. I usually hang this one towards the bottom of the tree.
The next photo features two small ornaments. The pink elephant is made from glass and I purchased it from the Christmas shop at Behnke’s Nurseries years ago because it reminded me of the famous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence from the Disney movie Dumbo. This ornament even came with a tiny plastic champaign glass but, unfortunately, the champaign glass snapped off a long time ago and I couldn’t find it. The pink elephant still looks nice without the champaign glass so I kept it. The cat is a Hallmark ornament that was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager.
The next photograph shows a Hallmark Mistletoe Fairy that I purchased mainly because when I was married my husband and I had a tradition where we hung mistletoe above the kitchen door and we used to time our meetings at the kitchen door so we would kiss. (LOL!) We didn’t get mistletoe in 2011 mainly because I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband was sick with bronchitis at the same time. I also didn’t know that he was planning to leave me three days after Christmas (and three months after my hip surgery) for a seriously mentally ill friend of ours. I thought about getting rid of that ornament when I was doing my ornaments purge but I ended up keeping it because this fairy looks really nice in the tree. I no longer keep mistletoe in my home so this ornament is about as close to having mistletoe as I get these days. (LOL!)
This next ornament is a ceramic peppermint unicorn ornament that I purchased from a Hallmark store at a clearance price during a post-Christmas sale one year. That’s another ornament that I’ve always loved to hang in my tree.
Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990’s? At one point Ty came out with a line of Christmas ornaments that were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies. I selected Peace the Tye-Dyed Bear because I thought he was cute and I also remember the traditional “Peace on Earth” greeting at Christmas.
The next few photos are small greeting cards that double as Christmas ornaments, which were given to me by my parents. Each of these greeting card ornaments have the same Victorian Era illustrations on both sides along with a tiny string to hang them on. Here is one of these card ornaments that I still have.
The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim”.
Here’s the other greeting card ornament that I still have. This one also has the same Victorian Era illustration on both sides.
The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim.”
Last, but not least, is this red bell that’s currently hanging on my tree as a Christmas ornament. Here’s some background. I’m currently involved in starting a new local chapter of the National Grange in my hometown and I’m serving as the Vice President mainly because this new chapter desperately needed officers and I stepped up to the plate. We decided to walk around town singing Christmas carols one evening before Christmas as a way of both publicizing the new group and spreading Christmas cheer in general. One person brought a bunch of bells that we could ring so that was how I ended up with this red bell. The high point came when we walked around the hallways of this apartment complex that’s designed for senior citizens and disabled adults singing Christmas carols and the residents there really loved it and they all smiled. At the end of the evening I attempted to give my bell back to the person who brought it but she told me that I could keep it. So I hung it on the Christmas tree.
I especially like the snowflake cutout at the bottom.
The past few days I’ve been writing about having a Tabletop Christmas and I’ve timed these writings so they would be uploaded during the traditional 12 days of Christmas. Today I’m going to write about handmade ornaments.
If you were to read enough back issues of this blog, you’d know that this blog’s main focus is on my arts, crafts, and photography. I’ve previously written about some of the ornaments I have that I made myself. Today I’m going to write about the ornaments I currently own that were handmade by other people.
Back in 2011 I purchased this hand-decorated ornament ball at a local arts and crafts show for my then-husband as a Christmas present. Even though, by that point, we had so many ornaments that we couldn’t put them all up because we didn’t have room on the tree, I purchased it anyway because my husband always told me that he loved Christmas balls and he had been miffed that we didn’t have too many ball-shaped ornaments. At the time I didn’t know that my husband had been secretly planning his exit from our marriage three days after Christmas (he didn’t even tell me that he was the least bit unhappy and he pretended that he “loved” me). So it turned out to be among the last Christmas presents I ever gave my husband. This ball survived the Christmas ornaments purge the following year because I really liked the delicate lace-like painted design on it.
The next ornament is a lace fan that has been permanently stiffened so it would always be a bit wavy. I had a co-worker at one of my old jobs who was a recent newlywed. Her mother-in-law and father-in-law had escaped their native Cuba while her mother-in-law was pregnant with her future husband. (My co-worker said that her husband would frequently quip that he was made in Cuba but born in the U.S.A.) Her mother-in-law was a very crafty person and she made a bunch of these Christmas ornaments. My co-worker brought a few into the office to sell on behalf of her mother-in-law and I purchased this fan. I love its pretty delicate appearance.
This folk art bird was among the many ornaments that my then-husband had brought with him when we were married. His late mother’s side of the family were Hungarian and this ornament definitely has Eastern European-style patterns on it. This was among the ornaments that he decided to leave behind. I kept the bird because I really like the folk art quality it has.
As I wrote earlier, I’ve made a few fused glass ornaments by taking workshops that my friend Tina Van Pelt teaches through her business Profusions of Glass. The ornament in the next photo is one that Tina made herself.
This next ornament is a handmade one that I’ve owned since childhood. It’s a diamond-shaped mirror with a gold cherub in the center surrounded by tiny gold trim. I remember purchasing it at an arts and crafts show but I don’t recall if the show was held at the Catholic church my family attended at the time or if it was held at the now-demolished Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I remember once having two of these mirrored ornaments but I don’t remember if they were sold as a set or if I simply bought two of them. I remember they weren’t very expensive because I was able to buy them with my allowance money. I only have one of these mirrored ornaments because the other one broke years ago. I’m amazed that this ornament has lasted so many years.
The small beaded ornaments in the next two photographs were made by my sister-in-law. One is shaped like a Christmas tree while the other is shaped like a bell. Here’s some background. At the time we were married, my future ex-husband had only one living grandparent left. She was the widow of Michael Somogyi, whose diabetes research had earned him his own Wikipedia page. (No, I never met him. He had been long dead by the time I met my future ex.) She wasn’t able to make it to our wedding because she lived in St. Louis and her health had grown too frail to make the long travel to our wedding in Maryland. She died about a year-and-a-half after our wedding. Members of the Somogyi family decided to use her death as an occasion to hold a family reunion in St. Louis. My sister-in-law made these tiny beaded ornaments to give to all of the attendees. (I recall at least 50 people showed up, which meant that my sister-in-law was very busy for several months before the reunion.) My ex-husband left those behind and I’ve kept them because the beaded ornaments make a really cool glittery effect when the lights are on.
The last photograph shows a pair of miniature teacups. For many years there was a woman who made them and she had a booth at the annual Greenbelt Festival of Lights. These were made as a set. I purchased them five years ago (I remember buying them shortly before my husband left me)and I was glad I bought them when I had the chance because I didn’t see her booth at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights this year. I don’t know why she wasn’t there. These teacups look so dainty and delicate hanging from the tree.
Back in May I took part in the Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour, where I braved the rainy weather to see some wonderful art made by local artists. There was recently another Open Studio Tour. This time there was no rain but it was pretty cold outside since it took place in December. I managed to cover more ground on this Open Studio Tour than I was able to back in May.
I started at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland, where I not only saw a small arts and crafts show on the lower level but I even saw some of the resident artists who were working on their latest masterpieces.
Next I went to the Otis Street Arts Project, where I took these photographs.
I also visited the Washington Glass School, which is located in the same complex as the Otis Street Arts Project. As you can guess from the name, this place specializes in glass art.
After that visit, I got in my car and I drove to nearby Hyattsville. I was only able to briefly check out the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center before the Open Studio Tour officially ended for the day.
I stepped outside the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center just in time to see this moon rising over Route 1 in Hyattsville at twilight.
I ended my day by crossing Route 1 over to Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store, where I saw their Christmas windows.
I did some browsing in the General Store part of Franklins before I decided to call it a day and head back home.
Earlier this month I learned that a brand new library had just opened in Laurel. I was in the area visiting the Maryland Workforce Exchange while searching for that elusive new day job that would help me pay the bills so I decided to check out the new Library while I was there. I have to admit that it’s really impressive looking. This library actually has charging stations for electric cars.
There are also signs outside providing information about the environment.
The Library itself is quite open and expansive with a lot of space.
There’s actually a working fireplace that’s located in the middle of the library.
Lit dinosaur tracks lead to the children’s area, known as Discovery Island, which is designed to resemble something out of the movie Jurassic Park. I can imagine any child having a total blast in that area.
The center of Discovery Island is an area of clear plexiglass on the floor, which shows a sandy pit with dinosaur bones. I can only imagine being a child sitting at an of the child-sized tables located over the dinosaur bones.
The rest of the library is pretty impressive as well.
This library even provides a courtesy charging station for laptops, phones, and other mobile devices.
The outside of the library has a tall vertical stained glass structure that is lit up at night.
The opening ceremony for the Festival of Lights happened just a few days earlier, which led the way for the biggest event of this festival: The Festival of Lights Arts & Crafts Show. This is among the events I make an effort to attend each year because I always run into at least two or more friends and I usually find at least one present to give to someone. This year was no exception.
The arts and crafts show runs the entire weekend but I was only able to attend the second and final day. In some ways the second day is better because it ties in with the last Greenbelt Farmers Market of the year before it goes on the winter hiatus until May. I managed to take this picture of some really nicely decorated Christmas decorations that were painted gourds.
I saw these nice instruments that were handmade from wood. They were made and sold by Roussell Family Arts.
These watercolors were made by Mary Ann Lipovsky, whose workshops I’ve taken in the past when she held them at Makerspace 125. (She told me that there’s a chance that she may start up those workshops at Makerspace 125 again sometime next year.)
I also visited my good friend, Tina Van Pelt, who’s a fused glass artist. She surprised me with this gift of a fused glass piece that could be worn as either a pin or a pendant. (She gave it to me as a special “thank you” for helping her out with a few things.) She’s been making fused glass American flags interspersed with safety pins as part of the new trend of wearing safety pins that have taken root since Donald Trump’s election last month. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this special line will go to the ACLU.
You can view more of her work through her business, Profusions of Glass.
I purchased this soap as a Christmas present for my mother. (I’m comfortable with mentioning it here before Christmas because she’s not on the Internet at all.) It’s shaped like a popsicle complete with a wooden stick.
I think she’ll get a kick out of it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any business cards from the booth where I purchased this soap so I can’t provide any information about the person who made and sold this.
There were more booths at this year’s event but those were the only photos I took because I was more focused on shopping and socializing with friends.
One of my friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation asked me to do a favor for her. Basically she wanted to sell her fused glass jewelry at the annual church auction but she was going to be out of town for the weekend but she still wanted someone to sell her jewelry on her behalf. (Especially since 50% of the proceeds would go to the church.) So I agreed to do it. I took a few photos of my set up at the church auction.
The next picture shows some of the fused glass jewelry that was on sale that evening. (The flaming chalice that’s in some of the jewelry in the next photo is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.)
The last photo shows samples of my banana bread that I baked for this auction. (I put two loaves up for auction while I made a third loaf to give away as free samples.)
If you like the fused glass in these pictures, check out my friend’s business, Profusions of Glass.
I spent part of the Mother’s Day weekend at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival. Earlier this month I made an allusion to showing off a new product that I modeled on behalf of a new startup. Basically the startup’s first product is a jumpsuit that’s been pretreated with Sawyer Permethrin so one can go hiking, camping, gardening, and other types of outdoor activities without worrying about being bitten by ticks and mosquitos (both of which carry nasty diseases like Lyme and Zika). I posted a selfie while wearing one of those suits. I was also given packaged suits to carry around with me to sell as I walked around the festival ground.
I didn’t sell any suits. Most of the people I spoke with said that they weren’t into camping or money was tight. But the suit I was wearing did get people to open up to me about Lyme disease because they mentioned that they have a friend or relative who’s struggling with this devastating illness. I even had a longtime friend admit to me that she currently has Lyme disease. I knew that she had health issues, which have affected her mobility, but they never got specific as to the cause until she saw me wear that jumpsuit with a sign affixed to the back saying “Ask Me About Permethrin-Treated Disposable Jumpsuit.”
I wore the suit on the first day of the festival while I walked around taking pictures.
Like I wrote earlier I didn’t make any sales on those permethrin-treated jumpsuits. What was worse was that I saw The Backstabbing Couple From Hell (a.k.a. my ex-husband and his mentally ill second wife who used to be a friend of mine until I found out she wasn’t such a good friend). I left the festival about an hour before closing time because I grew tired of seeing them walking around acting all happy. (I have no idea if they are really happy or not and I don’t care.)
The following day I was scheduled to be a substitute teacher for the English language classes my church offers to recent immigrants on Sunday afternoons. I ended up skipping Sunday morning service so I could check out some of Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I didn’t wear the jumpsuit on the second day because I was only there about an hour and a half at the most and I went straight to church for the English classes. I took a few photos of the second day of the festival.
I bought just two items at this weekend’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. One was a pendant made from recycled dominos that features an image of Edgar Allan Poe.
The other was a t-shirt featuring an image of Jesus riding on the back of a dinosaur.
Anyway that’s it for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival.
UPDATE (June 25, 2016): You can read about why I’m no longer involved with that startup for whom I was selling those jumpsuits at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival right here.